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DC5n United States software in english 152 articles, created at 2021-07-08 18:02 articles set mostly positive rate 5.4
(3.10/4)  1 
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Microsoft's emergency PrintNightmare patch doesn't actually fix the issue at all

Security researchers have demonstrated a flaw in Microsoft’s patch to bypass it completely. 2021-07-08 13:43 2KB www.techradar.com

(3.06/4)  2 
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Watch PlayStation’s new State of Play

PlayStation State of Play airs Thursday, July 8 at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT. The new episode of Sony’s digital showcase will focus on Bethesda’s Deathloop for PS5, as well as new indies and third-party games. Here’s how and when to watch. 2021-07-08 14:15 1KB www.polygon.com

(2.26/4)  3 
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Microsoft Starts the First Windows 11 Bug Bash

Insiders asked to complete quests until July 14 2021-07-08 13:28 2KB news.softpedia.com

(2.16/4)  4 
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Here are all the different SKUs of Windows 11, according to the Bluetooth SIG

Microsoft is regularly making changes to how they offer Windows to home and enterprise users. Today the Bluetooth SIG revealed all the different names for the SKUs of Windows 11 Microsoft will be offering. Microsoft will be offering Windows 11 as Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro for Workstations, Windows 11 Pro […] 2021-07-08 10:31 1KB mspoweruser.com

(2.04/4)  5 
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Dark Souls 3 Delivers “Flawless” 60FPS On Xbox Series X/S With FPS Boost

Dark Souls 3 has become another backwards compatible game to receive a frame-rate boost on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. 2021-07-08 14:06 2KB segmentnext.com

(2.04/4)  6 
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Resident Evil Village has sold over 4.5 million units worldwide

Resident Evil Village has shipped over 4.5 million units since its launch back in May, crossing another sales landmark for Capcom. 2021-07-08 10:25 2KB www.vg247.com

(2.03/4)  7 
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New PS5 system update released and it takes up 900 MB

The latest PS5 system update is here, and it's not too hefty in size. What does patch 21.01-03.21.00 do and how does it improve things? 2021-07-08 11:38 2KB www.gamerevolution.com

(1.17/4)  8 
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Windows 11 Won’t Be a Forced Upgrade for Windows 10 Users

Microsoft says it’ll be a seeker-initiated update 2021-07-08 13:56 2KB news.softpedia.com

(1.11/4)  9 
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The Switch OLED’s hardwired Ethernet isn’t enough to fix Nintendo’s online woes

The new Nintendo Switch OLED model is adding a new hardwired Ethernet port. But that isn't enough to fix the console's internet issues. 2021-07-08 13:00 5KB www.digitaltrends.com

(1.08/4)  10 
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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 release date, price & specs rumours

With Samsung the launch window for its next line of flagship tablets looming, we collate all the leaks and rumours surrounding what the Galaxy Tabs S8, Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra might bring to the table 2021-07-08 10:17 1KB www.techadvisor.com

(1.05/4)  11 
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Updates From John Wick: Chapter 4, Black Widow, and More

There's more Gunpowder Milkshake on the way, and Matthew Vaughn's sticking to spy-fy for a new movie 2021-07-08 13:45 3KB gizmodo.com

(1.03/4)  12 
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The next MacBook Pro: Say goodbye to the Touch Bar

With the continuation of the Apple silicon rollout, the company will likely take the opportunity to introduce new designs, features, and refinements to the MacBook Pro. 2021-07-08 13:21 8KB www.macworld.com

(1.03/4)  13 
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Here are the games streaming on PS Now in July 2021!

Sony is adding more games to PS Now than usual this month, including Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, and Judgment. 2021-07-08 11:10 2KB www.xda-developers.com

(1.01/4)  14 
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Surgeon Simulator 2 launches for Steam, Xbox in September

Access all areas. Comedy operation sequel Surgeon Simulator 2 launches for Steam, Windows Store and Xbox on 2nd September. It arrives in an … 2021-07-08 13:45 1KB www.eurogamer.net

(1.01/4)  15 
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DICE LA has been renamed to Ripple Effect Studios

EA has announced that DICE LA has been renamed Ripple Effect Studios as they start work on a new “yet-to-be announced project." 2021-07-08 13:43 2KB mspoweruser.com

(1.01/4)  16 
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Latest Ransomware Developed to Avoid Russian Systems

The development of REvil's ransomware prohibits the infection of computers in former Soviet Union countries 2021-07-08 13:33 2KB news.softpedia.com

(1.01/4)  17 
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Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE might be delayed, but rumors shed light on spec details

Samsung is working on the sequel to one of its best phones yet in the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, but a chip shortage threatens to derail the launch. 2021-07-08 13:24 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

(1.01/4)  18 
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The first trailer for Disney’s Encanto is a musical, magical overload

Encanto takes place in Colombia and follows the one non-magical member of a magical family. Starring Stephanie Beatriz, with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the new Disney animated movie comes out on Nov. 24 in theaters. 2021-07-08 13:18 1KB www.polygon.com

(1.01/4)  19 
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Machine Learning Is Now Being Used to Cheat in Multiplayer Games

Competitive play, even on consoles, is now at risk from this new technique. 2021-07-08 13:13 2KB uk.pcmag.com

(1.01/4)  20 
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Pokemon Go Friend Codes List July 2021

Pokemon Go is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary, which might mean you're back playing again. If you need new friends for the vastly popular mobile game, we've got you covered, with several methods to meet new trainers. 2021-07-08 13:07 2KB www.gamerevolution.com

(1.01/4)  21 
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Vivo X60 Pro review: Designed different

The Vivo X60 Pro is a capable flagship that plays to its strengths - a thin design and strong camera - by dropping niceties like wireless charging. 2021-07-08 12:55 704Bytes www.techadvisor.com

(1.01/4)  22 
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DOTA 2's International is now taking place at Romania's largest stadium

Valve had been working with Sweden since 2019 to ensure the tenth DOTA 2 International tournament could be held in the country during 2020. Those plans were... 2021-07-08 12:41 2KB www.techspot.com

(1.01/4)  23 
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Thousands of Android users scammed by fake cryptomining apps

Scam victimized Android users blinded by the cryptocurrency craze. 2021-07-08 11:33 2KB www.techradar.com

(1.01/4)  24 
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How to bypass Windows 11 limits and install on almost any old PC

Kids, don't try this at home! 2021-07-08 10:56 4KB www.zdnet.com

(1.01/4)  25 
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TP-Link RE605X WiFi 6 Range Extender review

The TP-Link RE605X WiFi 6 Range Extender fast and easy to use option for boosting your home Wi-Fi. 2021-07-08 10:49 4KB www.techradar.com

(0.22/4)  26 
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Google Pixel 6 release date, price, news and leaks

When will see the see the Google Pixel 6? Expect the next-gen smartphone this year, and here's what we know so far. 2021-07-08 12:52 12KB www.techradar.com

(0.16/4)  27 
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F1 live stream: how to watch every 2021 Grand Prix online from anywhere

We've already seen incredible racing this year - discover how to catch every Grand Prix online with an F1 live stream, anywhere in the world. 2021-07-08 12:49 4KB www.techradar.com

(0.13/4)  28 
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Best Switch games: the most essential Nintendo Switch games right now

From AAA tent poles to indie darlings, these are the best Switch games available right now for the popular hybrid console. 2021-07-08 13:18 26KB www.techradar.com

(0.06/4)  29 
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XDA Basics: How to Backup all your Data on an Android Smartphone

If you're buying a new phone and want to transfer your data from your old phone, here's how you can back up and restore data on Android. 2021-07-08 12:17 13KB www.xda-developers.com

(0.02/4)  30 
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Linux servers are getting a welcome security upgrade

Sophos acquires Linux server security specialist firm to bolster its enterprise security offering. 2021-07-08 14:15 2KB www.techradar.com

(0.02/4)  31 
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You'd Better use Asynchronous Communication

Cate Huston, Engineering Director at DuckDuckGo, explains why communicating asynchronously makes more sense for distributed dev teams. 2021-07-08 14:12 1KB dzone.com

(0.02/4)  32 
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What is OLED? Black levels, burn-in, and pixels explained

What is OLED, and what do you need to know about the TV technology? 2021-07-08 14:09 13KB www.techradar.com

(0.02/4)  33 
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What is Norton 360 for Gamers and what does it do?

Norton 360 for Gamers is supercharged for gamers – but how exactly? Discover the gamer-specific features that come with this suite. 2021-07-08 13:56 6KB www.techradar.com

(0.02/4)  34 
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The Best VPS Web Hosting Services for 2021

Virtual private server (VPS) web hosting strikes a balance between low-cost shared hosting and expensive dedicated hosting. Here's what you need to know to choose the right VPS web host along with our top, tested picks. 2021-07-08 13:20 8KB uk.pcmag.com

(0.02/4)  35 
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The relaxing, open-world puzzle design of

The way that the music is calming, and even quiets down as you pause to think about a tricky puzzle, really lends itself to a sort of “puzzle-solvin 2021-07-08 13:18 21KB www.gamasutra.com

(0.02/4)  36 
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Augmenting Organizational Agility Through Learnability Quotient (LQ) - an Architect’s Perspective

By creating a robust learning framework for the organization, and involving architects and other key technical leaders, Halodoc improved their organizational agility. 2021-07-08 12:00 1KB www.infoq.com

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Microsoft Teams: Those who dial will soon be able to raise their hands

Microsoft Teams will soon provide users the option to start recording a meeting as soon as it starts. 2021-07-08 14:19 1KB mspoweruser.com

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Tor Browser 10.5 is here... and it kills off support for older Onion services

Web users' interest in privacy and security has gradually increased over the years, and demand for secure, anonymity-offering browsers like Tor is also on the up. Now a new version of Tor Browser is upon us, introducing various protection methods. 2021-07-08 14:10 2KB betanews.com

 39 
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Yes, you can pet the Monsties in Monster Hunter Stories 2

The Monster Hunter Stories 2 petting mechanic can be very beneficial to players and their Monsties. Here's how to pet Monsties in MH Stories 2: Wings of Ruin and the benefits of doing so. 2021-07-08 14:07 2KB www.gamerevolution.com

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The best soundbars for TV shows, movies and music in 2021

We've tested the best soundbars to boost your TV's audio, from Dolby Atmos marvels to budget bars that will make your home cinema setup sing. 2021-07-08 14:06 15KB www.techradar.com

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Ransomware gangs get more professional

Ransomware, and indeed malware generally, used to be something of a cottage industry, the preserve of individuals or small groups. But new research from threat intelligence company KELA shows that it's becoming a highly professionalized industry. 2021-07-08 14:05 2KB betanews.com

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Kickstarter campaign started for Xbox Series S integrated folding screen

It is basically a 1080p/60Hz folding screen. 2021-07-08 14:04 1KB www.gamereactor.eu

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IBM acquires container services provider BoxBoat

IBM says that it has acquired cloud services and containerized apps provider BoxBoat for an undisclosed sum. 2021-07-08 14:00 5KB venturebeat.com

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TicWatch E3 review

An affordable Wear OS smartwatch from Mobvoi with smooth performance and solid health tracking. 2021-07-08 13:58 12KB www.techradar.com

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Best blogging sites of 2021: Free and paid blog platforms

Take a look out our picks for the best blogging sites, free and paid options. Any of these will help kickstart your blogging adventure 2021-07-08 13:54 9KB www.techradar.com

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How to Get the Best Surround Sound for Gaming

Whether you have a huge speaker system or just a pair of headphones, the right audio processing technology can provide surround sound that makes your games more immersive and gives you a leg up on the competition. 2021-07-08 13:54 11KB uk.pcmag.com

 47 
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South Korea's Nuclear Research Agency Hacker Identified

Extensive cyberattack campaign targeted one of South Korea's important institutions for 12 days in a row 2021-07-08 13:54 2KB news.softpedia.com

 48 
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There's Now a Tiny Washing Machine to Clean Your Grease-Smeared Glasses Too

If you think an automatic glasses cleaner is superfluous, you probably don't wear glasses. 2021-07-08 13:54 3KB gizmodo.com

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British Airways Pays Compensations to Victims of a Massive Data Breach

The British airline carrier agrees to pay the compensation but disagrees to the admission of liability 2021-07-08 13:46 2KB news.softpedia.com

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Three drone mistakes everyone makes (and how to avoid them)

Here are some tips for becoming a better drone pilot. 2021-07-08 13:37 3KB www.zdnet.com

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Ransomware talks: How Biden could push Putin to the table

Under pressure to end the ransomware scourge, the White House faces strong headwinds. The problem: Putin has no motivation to change the status quo. 2021-07-08 13:34 6KB www.csoonline.com

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Celebrate Ultraman Day With These Gorgeous, Giant-Sized Posters

Japan's beloved size-changing hero turns 55 this weekend, and we've got the perfect posters to celebrate with. 2021-07-08 13:30 2KB gizmodo.com

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A virtuoso goes virtual and makes music through the pandemic - Microsoft Stories Asia

It was a big setback. But this innovative artist soon overcame her disappointment and reframed it as an opportunity to do something really different. “The … 2021-07-08 13:27 1KB news.microsoft.com

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HDR TV: what is HDR, and what does High Dynamic Range mean for your TV?

Everything you need to know about high dynamic range (HDR) and how it makes your TV even better. 2021-07-08 13:24 16KB www.techradar.com

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WildPressure APT Cybercriminal Gang Targeting macOS

Milum Trojan has been updated and can penetrate macOS 2021-07-08 13:21 2KB news.softpedia.com

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Best UK SIM-only deals for July 2021

Save money on your phone bill with a cheaper SIM-only tariff. Here are the best deals in the UK right now during July. 2021-07-08 13:21 6KB www.techadvisor.com

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Pennyworth season 3: Everything you need to know

Pennyworth should return for season 3, but with a new home on HBO Max - here's what we know so far. 2021-07-08 13:20 823Bytes www.techadvisor.com

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Google says new antitrust lawsuit targeting the Play Store is meritless as Android allows sideloading

Google has been slammed with antitrust lawsuits from both the US government and in Europe in recent times. The latest, filed Wednesday, alleges that Google makes it... 2021-07-08 13:16 3KB www.techspot.com

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Surface Duo to Get Android 11 in September or October, Duo 2 Also Coming

Android 11 originally scheduled to land in August 2021-07-08 13:04 2KB news.softpedia.com

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Loki’s cinematographer explains the set that was ‘a bitch to shoot’

In a detailed interview, Loki series DP Autumn Durald Arkapaw breaks down key shots and sets from episodes 1-3, from the way Terry Gilliam, David Fincher, and Stanley Kubrick inspired Time Theater 5 to the real-life city built for the escape from Lamentis-1. She also discusses how Tom Hiddleston’s sense for drama and his own lighting has helped tell the story of the show. 2021-07-08 13:04 989Bytes www.polygon.com

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Crypto Crash Today: Why is cryptocurrency falling? (July 8, 2021)

Why is there a crypto crash today? Here's the reason for cryptocurrencies falling on July 8, 2021. Will the market recover? Here's the need-to-know info. 2021-07-08 13:03 2KB www.gamerevolution.com

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Neighborhood Watch Goes Rogue: The Trouble With Nextdoor and Citizen

Hyper-local apps like Nextdoor and Citizen aim to keep you apprised of what's going on in your neighborhood, but they also thrive on drama, which can be dangerous for our more vulnerable neighbors. 2021-07-08 13:03 10KB uk.pcmag.com

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Dell slashed over $200 off this Alienware gaming monitor today

The Alienware 25 gaming monitor is currently on sale from Dell with a $240 discount, for a deal that you should take advantage of to match your upgraded PC. 2021-07-08 13:02 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

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OpenUK's latest report paints a rosy picture of open source adoption

Might be nice if a few more of those adopters turned to contributors, though 2021-07-08 13:02 6KB www.theregister.com

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6 annoying things that smart speakers do and how to fix them

Smart speakers can do everything from music streaming to remotely locking doors, but that doesn't make them perfect. Here are six annoying glitches we've found. 2021-07-08 13:00 9KB www.digitaltrends.com

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Ubisoft joins Aleph.im as decentralized storage and computing network operator

Aleph.im, a cross-blockchain decentralized storage and computing network, said that video game giant Ubisoft has agreed to help out. 2021-07-08 13:00 5KB venturebeat.com

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Anticipating disruptions from China and NVIDIA

Software Development News Two technology vectors to watch are NVIDIA’s ARM acquisition and the forced cutoff of technology-sharing with China. 2021-07-08 13:00 4KB sdtimes.com

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Verizon brings spatial audio to more phones with its new Adaptive Sound feature

Verizon Adaptive Sound is a new feature that brings spatial audio to more phones. It's currently available on the new Motorola One 5G UW Ace. 2021-07-08 13:00 2KB www.xda-developers.com

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Google Cloud rolls out ActivStat for real-time match stats for Call of Duty League fans

Google Cloud is rolling out ActivStat for the Call of Duty League. The stats will help esports fans understand fast-moving matches. 2021-07-08 13:00 7KB venturebeat.com

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Coursera API vulnerabilities disclosed by researchers

Coursera took “prompt ownership” of the bugs, once reported. 2021-07-08 13:00 3KB www.zdnet.com

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Plugable launches USBC-HUB7BC 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub

USB-A ports used to be ubiquitous, but nowadays, they are becoming less common. Make no mistake, USB-A isn't disappearing anytime soon, but fewer laptops are coming with the ports. Instead, many notebooks come with USB-C only these days. And if a laptop does come with USB-A, it may only be one or two ports at most. 2021-07-08 12:58 2KB betanews.com

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Skype Insider Preview gets support for split windows on Surface Duo

Microsoft has released version 8.74.76.129 of Skype Insider Preview. It packs interesting features such as support for animated backgrounds, customized call reactions, and split windows on Android. 2021-07-08 12:52 2KB www.neowin.net

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He owns 150 Macs. Now he's created the one thing Apple fans desperately need

There are those with a deep devotion to Apple. There are also those with an unreasonable devotion to Apple. This new, brilliant idea is clearly for them. 2021-07-08 12:47 2KB www.zdnet.com

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OnePlus Nord 2 is confirmed to launch on July 22

There were speculations that OnePlus would launch the OnePlus Nord 2 smartphone in the month of September, but the Shenzhen tech firm has other plans in mind. Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, has recently confirmed the official launch date of the OnePlus Nord 2 to be on July 22. The CEO has made the announcement in […] 2021-07-08 12:36 2KB mspoweruser.com

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How to reduce background noise on a PC using a microphone

Cut down the noise and make your audio nice and clear when using a microphone on a PC or laptop. Follow our expert hints and tips. 2021-07-08 12:35 5KB www.techadvisor.com

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Constantine on HBO: Everything you need to know

HBO has announced a new adaptation of Hellblazer - here’s all we know so far about the continuing adventures of John Constantine on HBO Max. 2021-07-08 12:31 893Bytes www.techadvisor.com

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An unbelievable number of people can still break into old work accounts

Exclusive: New data shows password and access management policies leave plenty to be desired. 2021-07-08 12:30 3KB www.techradar.com

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Jellysmack hits 10B monthly views and more than 200 creators

Global creator company Jellysmack has added more than 200 creators to its program of internet personalities. 2021-07-08 12:30 6KB venturebeat.com

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Pokemon Go 5th Anniversary Event only Exists to Drain Resources Before the Go Fest 2021

You may have noticed that recently some Pokemon are getting harder and harder to catch. Some players think that this is due to the upcoming GO Fest. Many 2021-07-08 12:30 2KB www.futuregamereleases.com

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Why social media design makes it hard to have constructive disagreements online

Good-faith disagreements are a normal part of society and building strong relationships. Yet it's difficult to engage in good-faith disagreements on the internet, and people reach less common ground online compared with face-to-face ... 2021-07-08 12:19 7KB techxplore.com

 81 
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What is QLED? Samsung's quantum dot TV tech explained

What is QLED? We run through everything that makes Samsung's premium QLED TVs so bright and beautiful. 2021-07-08 12:11 11KB www.techradar.com

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DJI Pocket 2 gets iPod-style makeover in new vlogging-friendly bundle

The DJI Pocket 2 has been given a new 'Sunset White' bundle, which includes a fancy white paint job and a bunch of very useful accessories. 2021-07-08 12:03 3KB www.techradar.com

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Audacity alternative abandoned after developer allegedly subjected to stalking and harassment

Engineer behind Audacity breakaway project Tenacity has stepped back from the project. 2021-07-08 12:02 3KB www.techradar.com

 84 
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Intellimize raises $30M to optimize websites with AI

Intellimize, a startup leveraging AI to personalize websites for unique visitors, has raised $30 million in a venture capital round. 2021-07-08 12:00 4KB venturebeat.com

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The Walking Dead will shuffle its way into The Sandbox metaverse

The Walking Dead is coming to the decentralized gaming world of The Sandbox. That's a big boost for the blockchain-based NFT world. 2021-07-08 12:00 5KB venturebeat.com

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The Games Fund invests in 4 Eastern European game studios

The Games Fund, which raised $50 million for a new game-focused venture capital fund, has invested in four game studios in Eastern Europe. 2021-07-08 12:00 5KB venturebeat.com

 87 
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Petcube Bites 2 Lite petcam and treat dispenser can connect you to a vet, too

Petcube is releasing a more affordable petcam with the Bites 2 Lite, a pet device that allows for remote viewing, communication, treat dispensing, and more. 2021-07-08 12:00 2KB www.digitaltrends.com

 88 
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Datometry to Teradata and Oracle customers: Move to cloud without changing code

Datometry introduces a runtime that enables customers to move off Teradata to cloud data warehouses without changing their applications, and is now extending that to Oracle. 2021-07-08 12:00 3KB www.zdnet.com

 89 
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Why You Need a Data Fabric, Not Just IT Architecture - InformationWeek

Data fabrics offer an opportunity to track, monitor and utilize data, while IT architectures track, monitor and maintain IT assets. Both are needed for a long-term digitalization strategy. 2021-07-08 12:00 6KB www.informationweek.com

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Sennheiser’s New AirPods Rival Has the Best Sound You Can Buy for $130

You're sacrificing active noise cancellation for satisfying bass, but it's a worthwhile trade-off. 2021-07-08 12:00 7KB gizmodo.com

 91 
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The Boys spin-off show reveals season 3 details – and may tease its release date

A new Seven on 7 spin-off show for The Boys introduces a new character and could be hinting at when season 3 will release. 2021-07-08 11:53 2KB www.techradar.com

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Batman is back in Fortnite in today’s Item Shop update

A new Fortnite item shop update is here, adding a brand-new Batman skin, among other fan favourite cosmetics. Read on to see what's new in the Fortnite item shop today. 2021-07-08 11:51 2KB www.gamerevolution.com

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Brave browser: The bad and the ugly

The Brave browser is super fast, and privacy-focused, but there are a few things that I, along with quite a few readers just don't like. 2021-07-08 11:49 2KB www.zdnet.com

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Watch EA Play Live Spotlight’s Future of FPS panel here for Battlefield 2042 and Apex Legends chat

The first of five EA Play Live panels airs today. 2021-07-08 11:44 1KB www.vg247.com

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What is 8K resolution? The next step in ultra-high resolution panels explained

what is 8k resolution and why it matters if you're buying a new tv 2021-07-08 11:37 8KB www.techradar.com

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YouTube's recommendation engine is pretty naff, Mozilla study finds

It even pushes videos that break the site's own content policies 2021-07-08 11:32 4KB www.theregister.com

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Facebook's Portal AR Feature Turns You Into Harry Potter Characters

The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child augmented reality experience is available in the US and UK. 2021-07-08 11:30 2KB uk.pcmag.com

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Sony A90J OLED TV review

The Sony A90J is far from the most affordable OLED TV around, but you absolutely get what you pay for. 2021-07-08 11:29 9KB www.techradar.com

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New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 review

A solidly built trail shoe, the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 offers a great running experience while you put in the miles. 2021-07-08 11:24 4KB www.techradar.com

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Rainbow Six Siege mid-season update brings operator balances to Test Server

The Rainbow Six Siege Y6S2.2 update to test server brings changes to Alibi, Frost, Tachanka, Zofia and weapon balances. 2021-07-08 11:24 2KB www.techradar.com

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Airbyte’s AWS S3 connector brings open source data integration to data lakes

Open source data integration platform Airbyte has announced its first data lake integrations, starting with Amazon's S3. 2021-07-08 11:22 4KB venturebeat.com

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U. S. Regulators Want Elevator Company to Issue Recall After 2-Year-Old's Death

One child died, another became permanently disabled, and a third was hospitalized. 2021-07-08 11:15 3KB gizmodo.com

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Best VR headset 2021: Oculus Quest 2, PSVR, Valve Index and more

Get the best VR headset, and take your gaming experience to the next level. These are the best VR headsets of 2021, bar none. 2021-07-08 11:12 16KB www.techradar.com

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3 amazing companies that are planning hiring sprees this year

Loads of brilliant companies are hiring this summer, all over the U.S. and beyond. Check them out and be sure to apply if they’re your scene. 2021-07-08 11:10 4KB venturebeat.com

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Colorful's first laptop is an RTX 3060-powered machine inspired by Chinese mythology

Known chiefly for its graphics cards, motherboards, and storage solutions, Colorful is adding gaming laptops to its repertoire with the X15-AT, a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. It comes... 2021-07-08 11:10 2KB www.techspot.com

 106 
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TP-Link Archer GX90 review

The TP-Link Archer GX90 is a high-speed Wi-Fi 6 performance that’s tailor-made for gaming. Read our review to find out if it' right for you. 2021-07-08 11:06 5KB www.techradar.com

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Avalanche: "Game Pass has been really great for us"

They aren\'t the first studio to share this sentiment. 2021-07-08 11:03 640Bytes www.gamereactor.eu

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0.8
Future of sports: Can AI do a better job than professional coaches?

A new study put the question to the test and asked superfans to evaluate the results. 2021-07-08 11:00 3KB www.zdnet.com

 109 
0.9
Even Jump Ropes Are Getting Smart

Track your workouts, calorie burn, jump count, speed, and pace using the Hyrope and Hygear app. 2021-07-08 11:00 1KB uk.pcmag.com

 110 
0.3
"Decensor" mod restores Guilty Gear Strive's original China-related lore entry

Counter. A modder has restored Guilty Gear Strive's original China-related lore entry following a backlash to developer Arc System Works' decision to stealth … 2021-07-08 10:54 3KB www.eurogamer.net

 111 
0.3
Best plagiarism checkers of 2021

When you need a simple solution to automatically check if your website content is being stolen or copied, we feature the best plagiarism checkers. 2021-07-08 10:51 10KB www.techradar.com

 112 
1.0
Google Calendar invites are getting new RSVP options

Google Calendar invites are getting new RSVP options that will let you specify if you're attending a meeting in person or virtually. 2021-07-08 10:50 1KB www.xda-developers.com

 113 
0.5
Businesses now need a vaccine to cure hybrid working

Sherif Choudhry explores how businesses can make the most of technology in a hybrid working model. 2021-07-08 10:45 6KB www.techradar.com

 114 
0.3
Many IT decision-makers guilty of keeping cyberattacks secret

"Weight of responsibility" has made many IT leaders hesitant to share data breach info. 2021-07-08 10:45 2KB www.techradar.com

 115 
0.8
Best stock trading platforms in 2021

We feature the best stock trading platforms, to make it simple and easy to trade, invest, and manage other financial instruments, whether you're at home, in the office, or on the go. 2021-07-08 10:41 8KB www.techradar.com

 116 
0.1
Switch OLED, OnePlus Nord 2, & Sony Xperia 1 III impressions| Fast Charge 73

Nintendo's new Switch OLED frustrates fans, OnePlus makes headlines for all the wrong reasons (and some of the right ones), and we try the Xperia 1 III. 2021-07-08 10:41 1KB www.techadvisor.com

 117 
0.4
The best Android launchers for enhanced efficiency

Save time and make your Android home screen work better with the help of these eclectic tools. 2021-07-08 10:40 9KB www.computerworld.com

 118 
0.6
King Legacy codes: How to get free Beli and Gems [July 2021]

Looking for free Beli in King Legacy? Our King Legacy code list includes all working King Legacy codes and what you get for them 2021-07-08 10:38 2KB www.vg247.com

 119 
0.7
Best turntables 2021: the best record players for any budget

Looking for a the best turntable? Here's our roundup of the finest record players you can buy in 2021. 2021-07-08 10:36 12KB www.techradar.com

 120 
0.5
Get 'Networking For Dummies,12th Edition' ($18.00 value) for FREE

Fully revised to cover Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019, this new edition of the trusted Networking For Dummies helps both beginning network administrators and home users to set up and maintain a network. 2021-07-08 10:34 1KB betanews.com

 121 
0.4
ColorOS 11.3 on the OPPO Reno 6 series will include several new features

OPPO has officially confirmed it will launch the Reno 6 and Reno 6 Pro with ColorOS 11.3 in India next week. Read on. 2021-07-08 10:33 2KB www.xda-developers.com

 122 
0.7
These are the Best Galaxy Buds Live Cases: Supcase, Spigen, Elago, and more!

Here are the best Galaxy Buds Live Cases that you can buy to protect the charging case of your earphones against scratches and drops. 2021-07-08 10:30 2KB www.xda-developers.com

 123 
0.5
Yandex Robots to Make Grubhub Deliveries on College Campuses

The autonomous rovers will perform last-mile drop offs in areas not easily accessible by car. 2021-07-08 10:30 1KB uk.pcmag.com

 124 
0.7
Panasonic sets up a new business solutions arm

Electronics giant Panasonic is launching a new solutions-focused organization, Panasonic Connect Europe, to address the changing technology needs of European businesses. 2021-07-08 10:26 2KB betanews.com

 125 
0.2
Download: MIUI 12.5 Closed Beta for Xiaomi and Redmi devices [Update: July 7 builds]

Xiaomi has publicly announced MIUI 12, the latest version of their custom Android skin. If you're interested in trying out, closed betas are now available! 2021-07-08 10:22 2KB www.xda-developers.com

 126 
0.5
Silent Hill and Siren devs on their return to horror

Bokeh's new project slowly comes into focus.  When Keiichiro Toyama, Kazunobu Sato, and Junya Okura announced Bokeh Game Studio last year, heads turned … 2021-07-08 10:17 7KB www.eurogamer.net

 127 
0.3
Modded 4K Minecraft looks very different

As reported by Kotaku, YouTube channel hodilton posted a video showing off what Minecraft (download the latest version here) looks like after being upgraded through the magic... 2021-07-08 10:15 2KB www.techspot.com

 128 
0.8
Gmail sign in page just made one small, but signficant change

Google Workspace branding is now front and centre on Gmail sign in. 2021-07-08 10:06 2KB www.techradar.com

 129 
0.6
The Blade Runner anime has an amazing cast, and sounds true to the movie

The cast has been unveiled for Blade Runner: Black Lotus, an anime set in the same universe as the movies. 2021-07-08 10:01 3KB www.techradar.com

 130 
0.3
D&D Dark Alliance Wulfgar Builds Guide

You can choose from four unique heroes in D&D Dark Alliance, each with their own abilities, feats, and roles within the party. In this Dungeons & 2021-07-08 10:01 8KB segmentnext.com

 131 
0.5
Clearco gets the SoftBank stamp of approval in new $215M round – TechCrunch

Toronto-based Clearco, a fintech capital provider for online companies, has raised $215 million in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund II. The financing event closed just weeks after Clearco completed its most recent financing, a $100 million round that quintupled its valuation to $2 billion. Clearbanc rebrands its way into a unicorn While the […] 2021-07-08 10:00 4KB techcrunch.com

 132 
0.5
How to use split screen on your Chromebook

Ready for a multitasking session on your Chromebook? Here's how to use split screen on your Chromebook so you can view two sites or apps at the same time. 2021-07-08 10:00 3KB www.digitaltrends.com

 133 
3.2
Nanoleaf Elements review: These handsome light panels look great powered on or off

Nanoleaf’s gorgeous Elements smart light panels have a “wood-look” finish, along with a steep price tag. 2021-07-08 10:00 619Bytes www.techhive.com

 134 
0.8
Developers react to GitHub Copilot

The Microsoft subsidiary has been working with OpenAI to build an AI tool that helps developers write code by making automated suggestions. Here’s what the early users make of it. 2021-07-08 10:00 6KB www.infoworld.com

 135 
1.0
Get a look at CodeSandbox

A brief tour of the easy-to-use, shareable, online integrated development environment catching on with front-end JavaScript and Node.js developers. 2021-07-08 10:00 7KB www.infoworld.com

 136 
0.8
How to use R with BigQuery

See how to use R to query data in Google BigQuery with the bigrquery and dplyr R packages. 2021-07-08 10:00 10KB www.infoworld.com

 137 
0.2
Getting started with time series analysis

Time series analysis involves identifying attributes of your time series data, such as trend and seasonality, by measuring statistical properties. 2021-07-08 10:00 4KB www.infoworld.com

 138 
0.0
How to stop macOS Mail from using a bad email address

Apple wants to make it easy for you to use email addresses. But at the same time, it can lead to using a bad email address. 2021-07-08 10:00 3KB www.macworld.com

 139 
0.3
DOJ Pinkie Swears Not to Torture Julian Assange If He's Extradited to U. S.

A UK court previously ruled Assange shouldn't be extradited because he was likely to kill himself. 2021-07-08 10:00 4KB gizmodo.com

 140 
0.8
Samsung announces the adoption of OpenChain ISO/IEC international standard

To control supply chains, Samsung has followed in the footsteps of companies following the OpenChain standard in the field of telecommunications, cloud computing, automotive, and consumer electronics. 2021-07-08 09:58 2KB www.neowin.net

 141 
0.5
Minecraft is now an R-rated game in South Korea

Minecraft has become an adult-only title in South Korea, thanks to Xbox Live accounts in the region only being available to people over the age of 19. 2021-07-08 09:42 2KB www.vg247.com

 142 
0.7
One of the world's best e-bikes gets a huge price cut for its first anniversary

The sleek and powerful Cowboy 3 is now one of the most affordable electric bikes in its class. 2021-07-08 09:42 2KB www.techradar.com

 143 
0.1
E-commerce spending continues to surge in the wake of pandemic

Consumers love Amazon, but they also want it to pay more taxes. 2021-07-08 09:31 3KB www.techradar.com

 144 
0.4
Chrome tests new feature that lets you quickly switch between Google Search results

Google is testing a new feature in Chrome for Android that displays alternate search results underneath the address bar. 2021-07-08 09:28 2KB www.xda-developers.com

 145 
0.7
England vs Italy: What time is kick-off?

England have made it to the Euro 2020 final. Here's what time the match against Italy kicks off and which channel to watch it on. 2021-07-08 09:20 875Bytes www.techadvisor.com

 146 
0.2
Escape From Tarkov Best Graphics Settings – FXAA vs. TAA – Updated With Patch 0.12.11

We all know how vital the gameplay in Escape From Tarkov is. Most of the time, your raids' performance depends on your graphic settings, which is a 2021-07-08 09:15 12KB www.futuregamereleases.com

 147 
0.5
Chromebook running slow? Google’s update may be to blame

Google recently released an update to Chrome OS, but it looks like it’s made some Chromebooks perform worse. 2021-07-08 09:14 2KB www.techradar.com

 148 
0.9
Among Us Irish localisation "a cultural win for a thriving minority language"

No lie. Among Us' new Irish localisation has been described as "a cultural win for a thriving minority language" by one of the people who worked … 2021-07-08 09:10 2KB www.eurogamer.net

 149 
0.3
Epic launch trailer for Fallout 76: Steel Reign

The latest expansion launched yesterday for free. 2021-07-08 09:07 1KB www.gamereactor.eu

 150 
1.1
Among Us physical collectors editions announced

Three have been announced with the Ejected Edition being the most inclusive. 2021-07-08 09:04 777Bytes www.gamereactor.eu

 151 
0.8
Best Photoshop alternatives of 2021

We feature the best Photoshop alternatives, which offer advanced photo editing solutions to make them serious rivals to Adobe Photoshop. 2021-07-08 09:03 5KB www.techradar.com

 152 
1.0
Save up to 75% in the PlayStation Planet of the Discounts sale

Take a trip to the Planet of the Discounts and grab some stellar savings in the latest PlayStation Store sale. 2021-07-08 09:01 3KB www.thumbsticks.com

Articles

DC5n United States software in english 152 articles, created at 2021-07-08 18:02

 

 1 /152 

0.1
Microsoft's emergency PrintNightmare patch doesn't actually fix the issue at all
(3.10/4)

Cybersecurity researchers had expressed doubts about the efficacy of Microsoft’s recent PrintNightmare patch soon after it was released, and now there are reports of new proof-of-exploit code that circumvents the fix altogether. PrintNightmare created havoc when it was accidentally disclosed by Chinese security researchers who put out a proof-of-concept exploit thinking the vulnerability in Windows Print Spooler had already been patched by Microsoft, which pushed the company to put out a new patch to address the remote code exploitation (RCE) vulnerability as well. While security expert Kevin Beaumont believed the new patch didn’t plug the local privilege escalation (LPE) vulnerability in certain editions of Windows such as Windows Server 2012 R2, a new video by another researcher now demonstrates that both RCE and LPE vulnerabilities are still exploitable. Reporting on the findings of Benjamin Delpy, creator of popular post exploitation tool Mimikatz, The Register says that it’s how Microsoft checks for remote libraries in the PrintNightmare patch that offers an opportunity to work around the patch. "They did not test it for real," Delpy bluntly told The Register, reportedly describing the issue as “weird from Microsoft.” Microsoft however insists that while they are aware of the claims of the security researchers, and are testing them, they aren’t aware of any bypasses, avoiding answering The Register’s questions related to Delpy’s finding. "If our investigation identifies additional issues, we will take action as needed to help protect customers," a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register .
Microsoft patch for PrintNightmare vulnerability fails to fix critical security flaw
betanews.com
Researcher demonstrates bypassing Microsoft's latest patch for PrintNightmare exploit
techspot.com
Get updating: Microsoft delivers PrintNightmare patch for more Windows versions
zdnet.com

 

 2 /152 

0.1
Watch PlayStation’s new State of Play
(3.06/4)

The latest episode of PlayStation’s State of Play digital showcases airs Thursday, July 8, starting at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT. The livestream promises new details and nine minutes of gameplay from Deathloop, the time-twisting shooter from Dishonored developer Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks. In addition to Bethesda’s PlayStation 5 timed exclusive, Sony Interactive Entertainment says viewers can expect “approximately 20 minutes of updates on indies and exciting third-party games” for PlayStation platforms. Just don’t expect updates on the new God of War, Horizon Forbidden West, or the next generation of PlayStation VR, Sony says. You can watch the new State of Play livestream on PlayStation’s Twitch or YouTube channels. Deathloop is coming to PS5 and Windows PC on Sept.14. The first-person shooter stars Colt, who can use supernatural abilities to teleport, telekinetically throw his enemies, turn invisible, and rewind time as he tries to unravel the mystery of his time-looping predicament. Read Polygon’s Deathloop preview for more.
New update released for PlayStation 5
gamereactor.eu
Sony State of Play: when is the next PlayStation event and what to expect?
techradar.com
How to watch PlayStation State of Play
techadvisor.com

 

 3 /152 

0.0
Microsoft Starts the First Windows 11 Bug Bash
(2.26/4)

Microsoft announced Windows 11 on June 24 and the first preview build is already available for Windows Insiders, so the company is now ready to kick off the very first bug bash for the upcoming operating system. The Redmond-based software giant started the bug hunting program earlier this week, explaining that users can find bugs, send feedback, and complete quests by July 14 to earn an achievement badge. While many people expected a new Windows 11 preview build to go live this week, Microsoft so far hasn’t shipped it, and now users are wondering whether such a release is supposed to land by the time the bug bash comes to an end. This wouldn’t be the first time when Microsoft releases a new Windows preview build during a bug bash, but for now, the company has remained tight-lipped on its release schedule for Windows 11 builds. Microsoft has plenty of big things to bring to Windows insiders, including support for Android apps and the taskbar integration for Microsoft Teams in Windows 11. The company hasn’t shared an ETA as to when these features are supposed to become available for testing, but given Windows 11 is projected to be released to the first production devices in the fall of the year, it shouldn’t take too long before users are allowed to try them out. According to Microsoft itself, Windows 11 should land as a free upgrade for certain Windows 10 devices in late 2021, and given the company’s typical Windows 10 feature update calendar, there’s a chance this happens in October or November. The free upgrade campaign will continue into 2022, Microsoft says, but additional information in this regard will be provided when Windows 11 is finalized and ready to go live as a free upgrade.
Unimpressed with Windows 11? Don't worry... Microsoft says there's 'much more to come'
betanews.com
Microsoft Teases More Big News on the Windows 11 Front
news.softpedia.com
Microsoft is seeking feedback in a new Windows 11 bug bash
betanews.com
Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 Version 21H2 Is Coming
news.softpedia.com
Mandatory Microsoft accounts for Windows 11 Home might be a good thing
pcworld.com

 

 4 /152 

0.5
Here are all the different SKUs of Windows 11, according to the Bluetooth SIG
(2.16/4)

Microsoft is regularly making changes to how they offer Windows to home and enterprise users. Today the Bluetooth SIG revealed all the different names for the SKUs of Windows 11 Microsoft will be offering. Microsoft will be offering Windows 11 as Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro for Workstations, Windows 11 Pro Education, Windows 11 Enterprise, Windows 11 Education, Windows 11 Mixed Reality. It is not known yet what the differences between the different flavours are, but we assume these will mirror Windows 10, with features such as native support for Bitlocker in Windows 10 Pro which is missing in Windows 11 Home. Microsoft is still actively developing the operating system, and reportedly will still be adding many features between now and its release, which is currently rumoured for around October 2021, at least for new hardware. via MySmartPrice
Unimpressed with Windows 11? Don't worry... Microsoft says there's 'much more to come'
betanews.com
You can downgrade from Windows 11 to 10, but be quick
techradar.com
You can downgrade from Windows 11 to 10, but be quick
techradar.com

 

 5 /152 

0.4
Dark Souls 3 Delivers “Flawless” 60FPS On Xbox Series X/S With FPS Boost
(2.04/4)

Dark Souls 3 has become another backwards compatible game to receive a frame-rate boost on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S for increased performance. According to a technical analysis by Digital Foundry earlier today, Dark Souls 3 now pumps stable 60 frames per second on the new Xbox Series consoles compared to the rocky 30 frames per second on Xbox One. There is however a catch. The game still runs on its original 900p resolution. The cap reportedly falls on the backs of developer FromSoftware because it “never went back to the Xbox One version of Dark Souls 3 to add Xbox One X support.” 30 frames per second at 900p resolution has hence been the most the game can achieve on Xbox consoles since its launch five years back. While the impress FPS Boost from Microsoft has allowed the game to deliver “nigh-on flawless performance” on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, increasing the native resolution is a no-no without the involvement of FromSoftware. In comparison, Dark Souls 3 was updated on PlayStation 4 Pro shortly after release to remove the 30 frames-per-second cap. The game hence achieved not only 60 frames per second on PlayStation 5 through backwards compatibility but at 1080p resolution to go. Taking to Twitter earlier today, Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald stated that Dark Souls 3 “required a brand new technique” to enable 60 frames per second on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S through the FPS Boost initiative. He however did not clarify what that special technique was. Elsewhere, FromSoftware has no current plans for Dark Souls 4 but will be releasing Elden Ring in the near future which is meant to be an open-world Dark Souls game.
Dark Souls 3 now runs at 60fps on Xbox Series X, but it's still held back by Xbox One
techradar.com
Dark Souls 3 update boosts sun praising to 60 fps on Xbox
polygon.com

 

 6 /152 

0.3
Resident Evil Village has sold over 4.5 million units worldwide
(2.04/4)

Resident Evil Village has shipped over 4.5 million units since its launch back in May, crossing another sales landmark for Capcom. Capcom has announced that Resident Evil Village has sold another 500,000 units since we last got an update from the company, meaning the sales now total over 4.5 million. Given that the game has been out for just under two months, that’s a pretty impressive number. It means Resident Evil Village is up there with some of Capcom’s biggest games, including Resident Evil 7, Resident Evil 2 Remake, and Monster Hunter World. Watch on YouTube Resident Evil 7 is still the series’ top-seller, with a ludicrous 7.9 million lifetime sales, but given Village’s meteoric first two months, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the game catch up with its predecessor in due course. Given that Resident Evil Village had the best Steam launch for a Resident Evil game, ever, it’s obvious Capcom wants to ride this momentum. The promise of more PvP content to come in the form of Resident Evil Re:Verse and hastily-added single-player DLC will likely cause those sales numbers to swell, too. The company needed some good news after the Resident Evil 3 Remake failed to impress, at any rate ( though Capcom was at least expecting that). Merely a few days after launch, we heard that Village had crossed the 3 million sales mar k, which pushed the Resident Evil series as a whole well over the 100 million sales point, too. You can check out our Resident Evil Village Walkthrough Part 1 if you’re eager to go back to Ethan Winters’ cursed holiday for more – or if you’re about to visit the Village for the first time. You can read our Resident Evil Village review here.
Resident Evil Village sales pass 4.5m
eurogamer.net
Resident Evil Village has shifted 4.5m copies worldwide
pcgamesinsider.biz

 

 7 /152 

0.7
New PS5 system update released and it takes up 900 MB
(2.03/4)

The latest PS5 system update 21.01-03.21.00 dropped today for all console owners, who are understandably wondering what the patch does. What’s perhaps surprising is that today’s PS5 update size is only a rather small 900 MB. The new PS5 July 8 update for Sony’s console isn’t massive but will hopefully offer some sort of boost in performance in games, apps, and the console itself. Let’s have a look at the patch notes. The new system update for the PS5, tagged 21.01-03.21.00, offers very little in terms of details but is supposed to help with system performance. As usual with big PS5 updates, there are often other improvements that Sony isn’t willing to share. Regardless, this is still vague and doesn’t specify whether it helps with games, apps, or just moving about the console settings. PS5 System Software Update 21.01-03.21.00 Release Notes This system software update improves system performance. Sony’s own PlayStation system update page has now been updated with this latest patch but doesn’t offer any further details beyond what’s above. The previous patch,21.01-03.20.00, had exactly the same message, but also included some specific stability improvements in both the DualSense controller and moving games around the PS5. Since Sony usually allows PS5 firmware updates to be previewed in a beta version for any interested users but didn’t with today’s update, it’s likely that it’s just the minor stability update that it seems. Hopefully, the next PS5 system update offers more significant improvements. For more game-related news today, the first PlayStation State of Play stream since E3 is happening later on, which will mostly be focused on Arkane’s upcoming exclusive Deathloop but with around 20 minutes devoted to new third-party and indie games. Hopefully the mysterious Abandoned will be shown off at last, which probably isn’t Silent Hill but there may still be one announced.
New update released for PlayStation 5
gamereactor.eu
New PS5 firmware update is out, improves performance
vg247.com

 

 8 /152 

0.7
Windows 11 Won’t Be a Forced Upgrade for Windows 10 Users
(1.17/4)

Microsoft has already confirmed that Windows 11 would be offered as a free upgrade for certain eligible Windows 10 devices, and now the company has returned with additional information on how this release is supposed to take place. Microsoft explains that Windows 11 will land via Windows Update on Windows 10 devices, but to get the update, users need to manually check for updates on their devices. In other words, Windows 11 won’t be a forced upgrade on Windows 10 devices, so if you want to remain on the current operating system, that’s quite alright. Though, to be honest, if your device supports Windows 11, there’s no reason not to install it, especially given it brings so many substantial improvements. “For consumers we will continue to provide choices for control and transparency related to device updates. This includes the ability to schedule a restart, pause an update, and have full control over which optional updates to install. The feature update process for Windows 10 to Windows 11 will be a user-initiated ‘seeker’ process to choose to update to Windows 11,” Microsoft says. “For users who are not eligible for Windows 11 due to the hardware requirements, the seeking experience will not be available. You can find more information on device and hardware requirements here. We will continue to document all our releases and updates with release notes (in 36 languages) and share information on releases via the Windows release health hub.” Windows 10 will continue to be supported until October 2025, so if you don’t want to make the switch to Windows 11, your computer will still get security updates and other improvements for four more years. A new Windows 10 feature update is also coming this fall, though don’t expect Microsoft to focus too much on significant improvements in the long term.
Windows 11 Feature Updates to Launch in the Second Half of Each Year
news.softpedia.com
You can downgrade from Windows 11 to 10, but be quick
techradar.com
You can downgrade from Windows 11 to 10, but be quick
techradar.com
Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 Version 21H2 Is Coming
news.softpedia.com

 

 9 /152 

0.5
The Switch OLED’s hardwired Ethernet isn’t enough to fix Nintendo’s online woes
(1.11/4)

This week, Nintendo announced a new model of its Switch console. The updated console features an OLED screen, a new dock with a hardwired Ethernet port, and a sleek white finish. However, the Joy-cons and CPU haven’t been improved, contrary to early reporting about the supposed Switch “Pro,” leaving fans wondering who and what this new system is for. One questionable addition to the console is the hardwired Ethernet port on the new dock. The Nintendo Switch and its widely available Ethernet adapter add-on were released four years ago on March 3, 2017. The games that pushed players to purchase this peripheral such as Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have also been available for quite some time now. It’s likely that serious competitive players have already spring for that adapter at this point in the Switch’s life cycle. A hardwired LAN option is a nice extra for new players, but it doesn’t address technology hurdles like poor netcode that have hindered the Switch online experience since 2017. The fact of the matter is that no hardwired Ethernet will fix the console’s online issue. Netcode is the framework of the network of online video games. There is a multitude of different kinds of netcode with Nintendo currently being known to use two. The first is “pia,” a network based on a “peer-to-peer” build. As explained by Oatmealdome, this means each Nintendo Switch console directly interacts with one another to provide networking. This type of netcode is used in Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms, and the Nintendo Entertainment System Online titles. The second is the archaic, delay-based netcode — a very infamous network build among fighting game players. This netcode delays player inputs to match networking conditions. This makes it hard to consistently react and generally input commands thanks to fluctuating online environments. This code is most notably used in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Since the release of the Switch, many pro and casual players immediately pushed for everyone to adopt an Ethernet cable and adapter in order to shoot for the best online experiences possible. Thanks to Nintendo’s decades-old networking choices, getting a consistent online experience is extremely difficult. In fact, the poor quality of the netcode for a game like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate makes it play much differently than how it’s played offline locally. Those in the know realize that there are better choices for online structure. The most popular right now that fighting game players have been constantly asking for is called “rollback” netcode. The Fighting Game Glossary offers an in-depth explanation of how that system works. “An approach to implementing netcode in a fighting game that plays your own inputs immediately, and then rewinds and resimulates (or ‘rolls back’) the game if network delay causes inconsistencies, “the site explains. “Rollback is the best known netcode solution for fighting games; since all your local inputs come out without delay, the game feels like offline play, and clever design choices can often hide any network trouble as well, leaving you with a close to flawless online experience even across long distances.” An amazing example of this networking in action can be seen in the new Arc System Works fighting game, Guilty Gear Strive. Its usage of rollback netcode allows online matches to be played like never before. The smooth connections between players, even those separated by oceans, allow for serious matches, which makes real tournaments possible from the comfort of one’s home. Fans of the Smash series, Ultimate, in particular, have had to watch on as other fighters have implemented this online structure over the years. The list of games includes a fan client, which updates Super Smash Bros. Melee with rollback and true matchmaking, making its scene more lively and accessible than ever. With Nintendo apparently looking into a new multiplayer server system titled, “NPLN” and adding a hardwired Ethernet port to the Switch OLED, we’re all left wondering if there will be some true updates to smooth out its networking coming soon. However, Super Smash Bros. community members are pessimistic that they will see meaningful changes. Smash community leader and commentator Terrence “TKBreezy” Kershaw notes that the community’s pleas have continually gone on deaf ears. “At this point, it’s too hard to figure out what Nintendo is thinking,” Kershaw tells Digital Trends. “They’ve been hearing the same complaints for years about internet and stuff and they’ve done nothing.” While Kershaw plans on picking up a Switch OLED model, he doesn’t believe the new wired port will have a real impact on the issues that have plagued the Smash fanbase for years. “I plan on buying one, but I don’t think this fixes Nintendo netcode issues by any means. That’s a server-side issue they’d have to overhaul in my opinion,” Kershaw says. While Nintendo seems to be making better networking conditions somewhat more accessible through the new Ethernet port addition, it just feels too little too late for the Nintendo Switch. It wouldn’t truly improve anyone’s online experiences. Nintendo is treating a symptom instead of tackling the root cause. All we can hope is that the company will finally look into true netcode upgrades to make its Switch online subscription worthwhile. As for the potential NPLN plan, we’ll have to wait and see if that’s a real solution to its decade-old issue.
Nintendo Switch Pro release date, price, specs and announcement
techradar.com
OLED is having a moment – and not just with Nintendo Switch
techradar.com

 

 10 /152 

0.7
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 release date, price & specs rumours
(1.08/4)

While Samsung's Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7+ may be the company's most competitive tablets to date, they also raise questions about what the company might be cooking up for its next-generation slates. While we haven't yet heard of an official name, we're assuming there will be at least two, called the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8+. Here's what we know so far.
Nintendo Switch Pro release date, price, specs and announcement
techradar.com
Quick – the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have hit their lowest ever price
techradar.com

 

 11 /152 

0.4
Updates From John Wick: Chapter 4, Black Widow, and More
(1.05/4)

Fangoria sets its sights on Malay horror for a new remake. Get a brutal look at the next chapter of Fear Street. Kevin Feige continues to hype up Black Widow. Plus, a look at the Addams Family’s return, more Jungle Cruise footage, and what’s next for Fort Salem. Spoilers, away! Deadline confirms the one and only Lance Reddick will indeed return as Charon in John Wick: Chapter 4. Meanwhile, Observer reports Bryce Dallas Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sam Rockwell are attached to star in a currently untitled spy thriller from Matthew Vaughn concerning “a best-selling spy novelist who turns out to be a world-class spy suffering from amnesia.” According to Variety, Fangoria Studios will produce Sitora, a remake of the lost Malay 1964 horror film, Sitora Harimau Jadian, from director Diffan Sina Norman. The story centers on “a tyrannical shaman who puffs up the threat of a supernatural half-man, half-tiger as a means of preserving his feudal control.” Malaysian actor Wan Hanafi Su is attached to star. THR reports Studio Canal is developing a sequel to Gunpowder Milkshake ahead of its July 14 Netflix premiere. Production has begun on Time Cut, a horror film from director Hannah McPherson and producer Christopher Landon described as “ Back to the Future meets Scream.” Here are t he first posters for Disney’s latest musical, Encanto. Stranger Things star Sadie Sink is accused of witchcraft in the latest clip from Fear Street Part 2: 1978. A young woman with superpowers is tortured in a futuristic elevator shaft in the trailer for Rising Wolf (previously titled Ascendant). The Addams Family enjoy a vacation in the first trailer for The Addams Family 2. Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt discuss their “incredible opportunity” to turn Disney’s Jungle Cruise into a movie in a new featurette. Elsewhere, Kevin Feige discusses “subverting” fan expectations with the long-awaited Black Widow movie. The search for the Forge continues in the trailer for “Sacrifice” — next week’s episode of Kung Fu. Finally, anti-witch sentiment continues to snowball in the trailer for “Not Our Daughters” — next week’s episode of Motherland: Fort Salem. Banner art by Jim Cook
Black Widow’s ending reveals who Taskmaster is
gamerevolution.com
Does Black Widow confirm Natasha Romanoff’s fate?
gamerevolution.com

 

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0.6
The next MacBook Pro: Say goodbye to the Touch Bar
(1.03/4)

With the continuation of the Apple silicon rollout, the MacBook Pro is in line for some major changes. The company will likely take the opportunity of the new models based on Apple silicon to introduce new designs, features, and refinements. This article keeps track of the most credible reports of the upcoming MacBook Pro, so stay tuned for all of the latest. An analyst from Display Supply Chain Consultants (vis 9to5Mac) seemingly confirms that Apple is planning to “cancel the Touch Bar” with the launch of the next MacBook Pro later this year. DigiTimes counters some recent rumors with a report that claims the new MacBook Pro will launch in the third quarter. The Economic Daily News of China reported that Apple has “quickly increased its capacity utilization rate” to prepare for shipments of the MacBook Pro later this year. The timing suggests a launch on October or November. The publication also reported that MacBook shipments this year are expected to reach 23 million units, a 15 percent increase over last year. On Twitter, previously accurate leaker Dylan says the new MacBooks won’t launch until the fourth quarter of 2021. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple will release a “redesigned” MacBook Pro this summer. It will be available in 14- and 16-inch models; Gurman did not state if the current 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro will undergo any design changes, though iOS developer Dylandkt tweeted in January that the “upcoming MacBook Pro models may not feature a logo on the bottom bezel.” Analyst Ming Chi-Kuo said in a research note (via MacRumors) that the laptop will see a redesign in 2021. In an earlier note from May 2020 (via MacRumors), Kuo said that Apple is working on a 14-inch MacBook Pro—essentially, a transformation of the higher-end 13-inch models, similar to what happened when Apple released the 16-inch MacBook Pro to replace the 15-inch models. It’s unclear if the lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro would remain in the lineup if a 14-inch version is revealed. Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech reports that Apple will release a MacBook Air or a reintroduction of the MacBook in color offerings and a white bezel similar to those of the new 24-inch iMac. If Apple is using colors in its consumer-level products, it’s possible that Apple sticks with the space gray and silver options for the higher-end, which includes the MacBook Pro. And according to a tweet by previously accurate Dylandkt, the MacBook Pro branding might be removed. In March 2020, analyst Ming Chi-Kuo released a note reporting on Apple’s use of mini LEDs in new products, including the 2021 versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple already launched its first mini LED screen in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, so it’s clear Apple is already working on the tech. However, a recent report from DigiTimes claims that “volume production of the 14-inch MacBook Pro is likely to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021, and the 16-inch model will start in the first quarter of 2022,” so it’s possible that Apple releases a mini LED option later in the year. Mini-LED is a backlighting technology for displays, but several more LEDs are used than what is currently implemented. This results in better control of the backlight, better image contrast, and greater dynamic range. If Apple’s description of the iPad Pro is any indication, the new display will deliver “true-to-life detail with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio… (and) breathtaking 1000 nits of full‑screen brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness.” Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that the MacBook Pro that will be released this summer will have a MagSafe charger, an SD card slot, an HDMI port, and “more Thunderbolt ports” (the current 13-inch MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports; the current Intel-based 16-inch MacBook Pro has four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports.) Analyst Ming Chi-Kuo (via MacRumors) said in a research note that MagSafe will be on the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro. Introduced in Mac laptops in 2006, MagSafe was a magnetic power adapter connector that could easily disconnect from the laptop using non-axial force—tugs from angles other than straight away. Its implementation meant that if the laptop was plugged in and for whatever reason, the cable was tripped over or pulled, the connection would break and the laptop would be spared from flying off the work surface. MagSafe was a separate, dedicated plug for power, however, and disappeared when Apple switched to USB-C connectors in 2016. The USB-C connectors support battery charging but do not have a breakaway connector. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. Chances are a rumored 14-inch model will also have two ports. IDG Apple has transitioned to Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports in its M1 Macs, and Apple will continue with this in upcoming models. The Touch Bar is a polarizing feature of the higher-end MacBook Pro models—those who dislike it are quite expressive about it, while people who like it don’t really say much (at least it seems that way). In a January 2021 note, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the OLED Touch Bar will be replaced by function keys. In July, an analyst at Display Supply Chain Consultants seemingly confirmed that report, telling investors that Apple is planning to “cancel the Touch Bar” in the future. IDG Apple introduced the Touch Bar in 2016 to replace the function keys with “a brilliant, Retina-quality Multi-Touch display,” but it has been a decisive feature. A Twitter rumor have seemingly leaked small but significant details about the next MacBook Pro. iOS developer Dylandkt —who previously predicted the M1 in the iMac—claims the MacBook’s chip will be branded as the M1X and bring “more thunderbolt channels, more cpu cores, more gpu cores, and greater power draw.” The speculation for Apple silicon in the higher-end MacBook Pro models is that Apple will use this opportunity to reveal the next in line in the M-series. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple’s “redesigned” 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro will have Apple’s system on a chip that features a 10-core CPU (eight performance cores and two efficiency cores),16 or 32 graphics core options, a maximum of 64GB of memory, and an “improved Neural Engine.” Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reported that it’s possible that at the end of 2021, the 13-inch MacBook Pro will have a new System on a Chip that replaces the M1. The new SoC will be faster but have eight CPU cores (four performance cores, four efficiency cores) like the M1. The graphics cores will increase from eight to ten. The chip will reportedly be called the M1X, as evidenced by several rumors and Apple’s own tags on the YouTube video for its WWDC keynote. Apple has been rumored to be including 5G and Face ID support in its laptops, but Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that those features do not appear “to be coming soon.” According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple will release the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro with Apple silicon this summer. We had originally hoped that the new machines would arrive at WWDC, but the event has come and gone without a release. DigiTimes, which has a spotty track record for rumors but is more accurate when it comes to shipping, says that “volume production of the 14-inch MacBook Pro is likely to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021, and the 16-inch model will start in the first quarter of 2022.” However, sources recently told the publication that shipments will kick off in the third quarter, so a fall launch is likely, possibly around the time the 13-inch MacBook Pro launched last year. More recently, Twitter leaker Dylan said to new MacBooks will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the Economic Daily News, which has been a reliable source of supply chain information in China, said Apple only began to increase its manufacturing capacity in late June. Macbook Pro 14 and 16 are definitely coming Q4 of 2021. Either late October or early November. Prices have not been leaked but based on prior Apple silicon launches, the 16-inch model will likely still start at $2,399, with the 14-inch MacBook Pro possibly taking the place of the $1,799 13-inch MacBook Pro. It is not clear if the current 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro will remain in the lineup. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
The next iMac: ‘Pro’ model could be 32 inches and feature a next-gen chip
macworld.com
New MacBook Pro could kill off Touch Bar, rumors suggest
techradar.com

 

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0.2
Here are the games streaming on PS Now in July 2021!
(1.03/4)

Sony has revealed which games it’s adding to PlayStation Now for the month of July, and it’s a surprisingly rich month. The biggest games that are being added to the platform are Red Dead Redemption 2, Judgment, and Nioh 2, but we’re also getting a grab-bag of other titles as well. PlayStation Now is Sony’s cloud gaming service, somewhat similar to Xbox Game Pass. By subscribing, you have access to a whole catalog of PlayStation titles, some as old as PS3-era, and you can stream them to your PlayStation device or PC. The games being added to PlayStation Now this month include: This is a fairly weighty update compared with previous months, where it was traditional for PS Now to get around three new titles. God of War was previously on PS Now, but was removed last year for unknown reasons.Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Nascar Heat 5 are fairly new games, as well. RDR2, Nioh 2, and Judgment are new entries in several fairly well-known series ( Judgment is a Yakuza spin-off). Moving Out is a physics sim in which you play a furniture mover who must pack increasingly more elaborate truckfuls without anything getting broken. Note that Red Dead Redemption 2 is a download-only title, meaning that you can only play it by downloading it directly to your device. It’s available to play until November 1. Judgment will be available to play on PS Now until October 4. Unlike other services like Xbox Game pass, PlayStation does not announce which games will be removed from its service this month, other than the given end-dates for some of the titles that are being added this month. However, we do know that some games added in previous months left PS Now on July 5, including The Crew 2 and Marvel’s Avengers.
Here are even more games being added to Xbox Game Pass in July 2021!
xda-developers.com
The best free iPhone games of 2021
techradar.com

 

 14 /152 

1.1
Surgeon Simulator 2 launches for Steam, Xbox in September
(1.01/4)

Access all areas. Comedy operation sequel Surgeon Simulator 2 launches for Steam, Windows Store and Xbox on 2nd September. It arrives in an update-filled Access All Areas edition, which includes the various additions brought into the game since its original launch a year ago as an Epic Games Store timed exclusive. There's a four-player story campaign and the usual competitive multiplayer mode, too. As you might expect, Surgeon Simulator 2 supports Smart Delivery on Xbox, so you own the game regardless of whether you play on Xbox One or Series X/S. Current-gen platforms support up to 4K and 60FPS. "We're really delighted to bring Access All Areas to a whole new audience of budding surgeons," executive producer Sylvain Cornillon said. "The team has taken everything we've learned from launch to create the most hilarious, ridiculous surgery simulator we can imagine. We have a lot of surprises in store, stay tuned for more."
Surgeon Simulator 2: Access All Areas will release September 2
gamereactor.eu

 

 15 /152 

0.7
DICE LA has been renamed to Ripple Effect Studios
(1.01/4)

EA has announced today that DICE LA, who are supporting development on Battlefield 2042, has been renamed Ripple Effect Studios as they start work on a new project. “Our ambition is to become a studio that excels at everything — not just making games but also the process of how we make them,” the freshly rebranded Ripple Effect Studio’s announced in a statement breaking the news of their new name. “We’re so proud of our work as DICE LA and the DICE team will forever be a part of our DNA, but over the past eight years, we’ve developed our own culture and our own way of doing things,” Christian Grass, GM of Ripple Effect Studios said in the announcement. “We’re excited to look towards the future, expand the team and establish our own identity.” DICE LA has been a part of the conglomeration of studios working on bringing Battlefield 2042 to life, and they’ll continue this work under their new name, writing that they’re still “working on a player-inspired experience for Battlefield™ 2042.” On top of this, in the statement Ripple Effect Studios announced that they’re starting work on a new “yet-to-be announced project.” There’s no telling what this project might be for now, but if you want to be a part of it Ripple Effect is hiring artists, designers, and developers. We likely won’t hear anything about Ripple Effect’s upcoming game until after work on Battlefield 2042 is all done and dusted, especially since development has only just begun on this mystery project. With Battlefield 2042 launching soon on October 22nd,2021, hopefully, we won’t be waiting for too long before hearing something about what Ripple Effect is working on.
Battlefield developer DICE LA renamed to Ripple Effect Studios
eurogamer.net

 

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0.3
Latest Ransomware Developed to Avoid Russian Systems
(1.01/4)

According to new research provided by Trustwave, the code that REvil's cybercriminals used to launch a recent large-scale ransomware campaign was written in such a way that it avoids machines whose primary language is Russian or a related language, says NBC News. Ziv Mador, the vice president of security research at Trustwave SpiderLabs' said, "They don't want to annoy the local authorities, and they know they will be able to run their business much longer if they do it this way," According to Trustwave, the ransomware avoids systems that have Tajik, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian, Armenian, Georgian, Azerbaijani, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Uzbek, Kazakh, Russian Moldova, Romanian, Syriac, Syriac Arabic, and Tatar as their default language. Joe Biden revealed Tuesday that his administration has yet to discover the source of the latest attack. According to security researchers, while the ransomware does not appear to have had a significant impact on the United States, it is estimated to be the largest ransomware attack in history due to the sheer volume of victims infected - about 1,500 companies worldwide. It was a particularly complex attack that exploited a previously undiscovered software flaw, a zero-day vulnerability, to infect one IT company, that then infected other IT companies, which in turn infected hundreds of consumers. If malware developers choose to hardcode this type of avoidance setting, it could indicate that they are aware of their malware's ability to widespread itself during launch and have decided to protect Russia and Russian-speaking countries in their hacking activities. Brian Krebs, cybersecurity expert, even suggested that users can prevent their computers from becoming infected with malware by installing a Russian language virtual keyboard on their Windows computers. Take note that it doesn't work all the time.
Kaseya ransomware attack was apparently coded to avoid Russia
techradar.com

 

 17 /152 

0.0
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE might be delayed, but rumors shed light on spec details
(1.01/4)

The future of Samsung’s rumored Galaxy S21 FE, which stands for Fan Edition, is up in the air. Initially said to be delayed or even canceled due to a chip shortage that has plagued the electronics industry for the past couple of months, Samsung told Bloomberg: “While we cannot discuss details of the unreleased product, nothing has been determined regarding the alleged production suspension.” Even with that haze of uncertainty, it appears that the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is still being worked on with an eye toward a possible launch. A report from Korea shared the S21 FE will launch with either an Exynos or Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, depending on the market, with a launch date sometime during the second half of the year. It is also said to be exploring strategies such as a limited launch in high-performing markets like the U. S. and Europe. We do know a fair bit about what the S21 FE may be like, despite it being unofficial. Renders from prolific leaker Evan Blass shared in June showcased a design that is very similar to the regular Samsung Galaxy S21, while renders shared in July by Android Headlines show the color options to expect. There’s a camera bump at the back that blends in with the chassis, a display with a hole-punch selfie camera, and a selection of colors from the classic black and white to olive and purple. Additional rumored specs for this device include a 6.41-inch full HD AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, while the front camera may be a high-quality 32-megapixel camera. All of this is expected to be powered by a Snapdragon 888 processor, at least 6GB of RAM, and a 4370mAh battery according to a reported TENAA certification. China’s 3C certification board recently approved the Samsung EP-TA800, the company’s 25-watt fast charger, for use with the S21 FE. As the older Samsung Galaxy S20 FE did offer up to 25W wired fast charging, it was likely that Samsung would do the same for its sequel. This is not the company’s first rumored cancellation this year as a result of the chip shortage. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 21 was also said to be canceled this year, as the company was finding it difficult to balance launching multiple flagships under supply constraints.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Everything you need to know
techadvisor.com

 

 18 /152 

0.5
The first trailer for Disney’s Encanto is a musical, magical overload
(1.01/4)

Disney’s newest animated film is a musical and magical fantasy. Encanto was first announced during Disney’s jam-packed investor day in December 2020. A brief teaser revealed nothing more than the magical house at the movie’s center, but a new trailer reveals a little more about the family and their cool powers — and shows off some of the infectious music. Set in an enchanted village in the mountains of Colombia, Encanto follows the Madrigal family, who have all been granted magical abilities — except for Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), the only family member without a special gift. But when something threatens their magic, it turns out that Mirabel might be the only one able to save it. Encanto is directed by Bryon Howard ( Zootopia) and Jared Bush (writer on Moana). Bush collaborated on the screenplay with Charise Castro Smith (of Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House series) who’s making her feature film writing debut. The music is by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Encanto is set to hit theaters on Nov.24.
Disney's Encanto Trailer: A Girl Finding Her Place in Magical Family
gizmodo.com

 

 19 /152 

0.7
Machine Learning Is Now Being Used to Cheat in Multiplayer Games
(1.01/4)

Unfortunately, playing games online competitively doesn't always come down to skill because people cheat. Thankfully, we have anti-cheat solutions on PC and console gamers are for the most part shielded from it, but not for much longer. As Eurogamer reports, the Anti-Cheat Police Department (@AntiCheatPD) Twitter account has shared a video of Call of Duty gameplay (watch it below) demonstrating a new method of cheating being used that employs machine learning. The system relies on having a PC and a capture card to record footage of gameplay that is then learned from and reacted to. The player is still required to play the game and point in the right direction, but the machine learning system sends input to the controller in order to line up the final shot and ensure a kill. @AntiCheatPD descibes it as, "aim assist but more amplified without you even needing to do anything all you have to do is aim in the general area and the machine will do the work for you." The problem for developers is, this system will be hard to detect because a real player is still playing the game and their reaction times are going to be very close to the best competitive players, so how do you tell who is cheating and who is just really good? Only time will tell as this machine learning solution may end up having a few "tells" that allow it to be detected. It's unclear how much input lag will play a part in the success of this form of cheating. Remember, the gameplay footage has to be fed through a capture card and assessed by the system before controller input is determined and fed back to the controller, and that's going to eat up valuable milliseconds. The biggest concern, however, is that if it does work well enough, console games are not immune. You can hook a console up to a PC and have footage captured just like you can with PC games, so this could have huge repercussions for legal competitive play across all platforms.
New machine learning cheat threatens competitive console play
eurogamer.net

 

 20 /152 

0.9
Pokemon Go Friend Codes List July 2021
(1.01/4)

Pokemon Go is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary, with a special event focused on the franchise’s iconic starter Pokemon. It’s brought the once-stratospheric game back into the public eye. This means trainers are looking for friends to recruit and trade with. Read on for our Pokemon Go Friends Codes List for July 2021, as well as some tips on how to find friends on Twitter. If you’re looking for friends on Pokemon Go, look no further than the GameRevolution team. We’ve got a few friend codes of some of us, that you can add below: We’ll be there to trade, swap gifts – and maybe even participate in the elusive Deoxys raids currently ongoing. Of course, if you need more than just these codes to complete some research tasks, there are other tricks to get Friend Codes too. Many budding trainers shares their codes on social media, to get the friends they might need to complete tasks. If you don’t feel like sharing yours, but want to look for some yourself, there’s some handy phrases you can search on Twitter to find a deluge of prospective friends. Typing in “Let’s be friends in Pokemon Go” will pull up a veritable swamp of Friend Codes. It’s the automatic phrasing the app uses when you want to share your code, so there’s constantly new people using this phrase to publicise their account. If you’ve done these tricks but still want a few more friends, perhaps locally, then Facebook is your next port of call. Most big cities or towns will have a grassroots Pokemon Go group, where people swap codes, organise raids, or share details on where to find a Dratini. With raids so frequent at the moment, people are constantly posting codes so they can be invited to a battle – so heading there is another good move. Once you’ve got these friends, you’ll want to gear up for July 2021’s Spotlight Hours, which you can find details of here. You probably won’t be happy about Niantic’s recent changes to the game, which removed the pandemic-induced bonuses.
Pokemon Go July 2021 Jump Start Special Research Tasks and Rewards
futuregamereleases.com

 

 21 /152 

3.3
Vivo X60 Pro review: Designed different
(1.01/4)

Dom covers everything that runs on electricity, from phones and laptops to wearables, audio, gaming, smart home, and streaming - plus he's a regular fixture on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.
Vivo X60 Pro review
techradar.com

 

 22 /152 

0.2
DOTA 2's International is now taking place at Romania's largest stadium
(1.01/4)

In brief: DOTA 2's The International tournament is officially taking place in Bucharest, Romania, this October, after the original Swedish venue had to be changed due to the government's refusal to classify the championship as an "elite sporting event." Valve had been working with Sweden since 2019 to ensure the tenth DOTA 2 International tournament could be held in the country during 2020. Those plans were scuppered by the pandemic, but the company was given assurances by Stockholm Live and Visit Stockholm that this year's Championships would qualify for the same exemptions as other elite sporting events. However, the Swedish Sports Federation refused to classify The International as an "elite sporting event," meaning anyone attempting to gain a visa for travel to Sweden, including players, talent, and staff, would likely be denied due to Covid-19 restrictions. Valve's appeals didn't work, and while there were some last-minute attempts to come to an agreement, the company ultimately decided to relocate. The Arena Nationala The championships are now set to take place in Romania's largest stadium: the 55,634 capacity Arena Nationala in the capital of Bucharest. Players will be battling it out for the share of a $40 million prize pool when the event begins on October 7th, with the Group Stage running through October 10th, the Main Stage events starting on October 12th, and the final match taking place on October 17th. "We are grateful for the partnership we have formed with Romania and the city of Bucharest, and very much look forward to gathering with the global Dota 2 community, both in-person and virtually, to celebrate the elite players and amazing fandom at The International," Valve said. "Prepare yourselves. At long last, the battle begins." Ticket information will arrive shortly, and you can expect some Covid-19 rules to be in place at the tournament. Masthead credit: Roman Kosolapov
Dota 2's The International moves from Sweden to Romania
pcgamesinsider.biz

 

 23 /152 

0.4
Thousands of Android users scammed by fake cryptomining apps
(1.01/4)

Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a major cryptomining scam, perpetrated via hundreds of Android apps. Unraveled by the Lookout Threat Lab, the scam tricked over 86,000 people into thinking they are paying for cloud cryptomining services. The researchers argue that the apps, some of which were listed on the Google Play store, weren’t flagged since they don’t actually appear to do anything malicious. “They are simply shells set up to attract users caught up in the cryptocurrency craze and collect money for services that don’t exist. Purchasing goods or services online always requires a certain degree of trust — these scams prove that cryptocurrency is no exception,” said Ioannis Gasparis, a mobile application security researcher at Lookout. In their breakdown of the scam, Lookout notes that all the scam apps can broadly be classified into two distinct app families, namely BitScam and CloudScam. The BitScam and CloudScam apps advertise themselves as providing cloud cryptocurrency mining services for a fee. The majority of BitScam and CloudScam apps were paid apps, and furthermore also offered paid subscriptions and commercial services related to crypto mining. After carefully analyzing the apps, the Lookout researchers found that no cloud crypto mining actually takes place, and the scammers simply pocketed the money their victims spent on the apps and paid upgrades, with over $350,000 thought to have been generated. In all, Lookout identified more than 170 apps. While a majority of these were sideloaded from third-party app stores,26 were available for download on Google Play, but have now been removed.
170 Android cryptocurrency mining scam apps have stolen $350,000 from users
zdnet.com

 

 24 /152 

0.9
How to bypass Windows 11 limits and install on almost any old PC
(1.01/4)

I shouldn't need to tell you this, but just in case you were the kid who used to run with scissors, I will: this could hurt. What I'm about to tell you could cause crashes. Drivers and various system functions might hang. Your computer might melt into a pile of slag that gets tangled in your carpet and is almost impossible to clean. You might even knock the moon out of orbit. Baaaaad things could happen. We are entering unsanctioned territory here. Also: Microsoft delivers PrintNightmare patch for more Windows versions Okay, for the benefit of the two of you who haven't been reading all of Ed Bott's reporting on Windows 11, as it's intended to ship from the factory, Windows 11 will only support certain PCs. It will only support 64-bit machines with TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot. As we've been discussing, even some of Microsoft's own Surface machines won't run Windows 11. Or, at least, they can't run it unless you do a little tinkering. Did I mention baaaaad things could happen? Okay, good. Keep that in mind as we move into the process. First, there is one limitation we can't bypass: if you don't have a 64-bit processor, give it up. You'll need a machine with a 64-bit processor. But if you've got that, you're ready to alter the space/time continuum. As it turns out, Microsoft isn't as tied to the idea of requiring a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) as they've led us all to believe. Deep inside their June 2021 Windows 11 Minimum Hardware Requirements PDF is the sentence, "Upon approval from Microsoft, OEM systems for special purpose commercial systems, custom order, and customer systems with a custom image are not required to ship with a TPM support enabled." Lawrence Abrams at Bleeping Computer has taken advantage of this detail. In his article, he shows how creating a new LabConfig key and setting DWORD values BypassTPMCheck, BypassRAMCheck, and BypassSecureBootCheck to 1 can enable you to bypass the compatibility check. If that doesn't work for you, Zachary Wander at Android site XDA has four more approaches he describes in depth. His first approach is to manually (and by manually, he's hacking registry keys, 'natch) enroll in the Dev Channel. That, in theory, should allow you to install Windows 11 on unsupported machines. If that doesn't work, he has more tricks up his sleeve. The next approach is also about enrolling in the Dev Channel, but instead of a registry hack, you need to run a Github script (because that's not at all scary). His third approach is to build a hybrid USB installer. You'll be downloading ISOs, burning images to thumb drives, hacking registry entries, and more. If Windows 11 installs this way, you've earned it. And, finally, he has a hack where you go inside the Windows 11 ISO file and remove a compatibility check file. So. Yeah. That. Another thing that goes without saying is that if you can get this to work with the current test build of Windows 11, it might not work when the actual release of Windows 11 is shipped. It might not even work when the next test build of Windows 11 is pushed out. But if you're impatient, and want to get Windows 11 running on an unsanctioned device, go for it. Just don't come crying to us when you're blamed for destroying the moon because you had to try Windows 11 on your very own unsanctioned computer. So, what do you think about this? Are you going to try it? Did you recently buy a Windows machine that now can't run Windows 11? Do you feel abandoned? Do you think the next best thing is Linux and think we were all sheep to be running Windows in the first place? Are you going to jump to a Mac? Or is it time to pull out the screwdriver, open up your tower, and replace components? Let us know in the comments below. You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV .
If you change your mind after installing Windows 11, the clock is ticking
betanews.com

 

 25 /152 

0.6
TP-Link RE605X WiFi 6 Range Extender review
(1.01/4)

Sales of mesh Wi-Fi systems have soared in the last year or so, as our increasing reliance on home Wi-Fi for both work and entertainment has put more and more pressure on our home networks. A mesh system is a great way of extending your wi-fi network across your whole home - including upstairs bedrooms, or your new working-from-home office out in the garden shed. But, if you only have one or two rooms where the Wi-Fi needs a boost, then you might be able to save money and fix the Wi-Fi with a more affordable range extender instead. We liked TP-Link’s RE650 extender, which was affordable and easy to set up, and the company has now introduced the new RE605X, which is one of the first range extenders we’ve seen to step up to Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11ax), with dual-band Wi-Fi running at 1800Mbps. That doesn’t mean that you also need a Wi-Fi 6 router in order to use the RE605X, as TP-Link’s web site goes out of its way to point out that it offers “ultimate compatibility”, with any router using either Wi-Fi 6 or the older Wi-Fi 5 that most of us are still using (formerly known as 802.11ac). It’s affordably priced too, costing just £79.99 (around $110, AU$150), which is no more expensive than many rival Wi-Fi 5 extenders. And, if you’re on a tight budget, there’s also a less expensive model called the RE505X, which provides dual-band Wi-Fi 6 running only slightly slower at 1500Mbps, for a very competitive £59.99 (around $80, AU$110). Unlike the smoothly-curved design of the RE650, the white plastic body of the new RE605X is resolutely rectangular, with sharp corners all around and two large antennae that thrust almost six inches up into the air in order to provide good reach for your new Wi-Fi signal. It’s designed to plug straight into a mains power socket, and there’s a small row of status lights on the front of the unit that can help you to find a good spot for the RE605X by showing the signal strength for both the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz frequency bands. The only other visible feature is a single Gigabit Ethernet port on the side of the unit, which can provide a wired connection for a laptop or other devices. However, you can also use the RE605X in ‘acess point mode’, using that Ethernet port to connect it to an existing wired network, which can then be extended with the Wi-Fi signal from the RE605X. Some range extenders can be a little tricky to set up at first but, as we discovered with the RE650, TP-Link’s Tether app for iOS and Android does a good job of keeping things simple. You need to start with the RE605X plugged into a power socket close to your main router, and the Tether app can then automatically detect the new Wi-Fi signal from the range extender and connect your smartphone or tablet directly to the extender. The app then guides you through the process of linking the RE605X to your existing Wi-Fi network, and gives you the option of entering new names and passwords, or sticking with your existing network details. It’s admirably simple and straightforward for new users, but the range extender also provides a web browser interface for more experienced users who want more control over their new network settings. We were also pleased to find that the RE605X made a noticeable improvement to the rather poor wi-fi performance in our back office. Using the Ookla benchmark app, our normal router only managed a speed of 34Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 85.0Mbps on the 5.0GHz band. But, with the RE605X plugged into a power socket in the nearby hallway, those speeds jumped right up to 100Mbs on both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz, which is the maximum speed supported by our office broadband. Steam downloads benefitted too, jumping from 3.5MB/s to 11MB/s on the 2.4GHz band, while the 5.0GHz band increased from 10MB/s to 12.5MB/s, which matches the performance of many more expensive routers that we have tested. Not everyone will need a range extender that supports Wi-Fi 6, so you could still save some money by opting for an older extender that only has Wi-Fi 5. But, at this price, you wouldn’t save much anyway, and the ease of use and strong performance of the RE605X make it a really good option for homes that need to boost the Wi-Fi in just one or two rooms.
How to set up a Wi-Fi extender
pcworld.com

 

 26 /152 

0.0
Google Pixel 6 release date, price, news and leaks
(0.22/4)

The Google Pixel 6 - or at least the rumored Pixel 6 Pro - could be the most exciting Pixel phone in years, judging by the leaks and news we've heard, which suggests this upcoming Android phone could have a radical new design. That's not the only interesting thing about it though, as the Google Pixel 6 range is also rumored to pack an in-house chipset for the first time - one that we haven't seen in any other phone. These phones could appeal to a wide audience too, with the Pixel 6 possibly being mid-range like the Pixel 5, while the Pixel 6 Pro might be a premium device like the Pixel 4. We might not have too much longer to wait for the Google Pixel 6 range either, as while the exact release date is unknown, it's likely to land in or around October, possibly alongside Android 12. Already though leakers have gone to town on the Google Pixel 6, and we're hearing new information about the device all the time. You can scroll on down for all the important information we've heard so far, including some pretty out-there Pixel 6 renders. We've also collected a wish-list about the Google Pixel 6, which we drew up before the leaks had started. Expect to learn more about the Google Pixel 6 as the months go on, and we'll be keeping this article updated, so check back regularly. The only Pixel 6 release date rumor so far says to expect it in October, but that it could slip to November if there's a chipset shortage. That makes sense, as we'd expect the phone to come out towards the end of 2021, based on Google's flagship trends. October is most likely the best bet, even without this rumor. With regards to price, that's a bit harder to guess, because while the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 were more premium offerings, the Pixel 5 is a mid-ranged phone, and we don't know if Google will stick in that price range or return to the top end. For reference, the Pixel 5 cost $699 / £599 / AU$999 so maybe we could see a similar price again. That said, given that there are rumors of the Pixel 6 Pro as well, we might see both a mid-range Pixel 6 and a high-end Pro model, with the latter probably costing a lot more than the Pixel 5. Each generation of Google Pixel phones used to have two devices - a standard and an XL model which had the same specs but a bigger screen and battery. Since the Pixel 4a we haven't seen an XL model (not including the Pixel 4a 5G, which doesn't really fit the pattern), but some people think the big-body phone is coming back. In particular, leakers have been reporting on a Pixel 6 Pro that sounds to be coming. We've seen design renders and case leaks showing a phone with loads of rear cameras, which also seems to be slightly bigger than the 'standard' Pixel 6. We'll have to wait for the phone to be unveiled before we're certain it's coming, but the more time goes on, the more a Google Pixel 6 Pro seems likely. We've had our first look at the possible design of the Pixel 6, courtesy of unofficial renders based on leaked images. You can see one of these below, and it's a big change if accurate. The renders show a camera block that runs across the width of the back, jutting out, and a three-tone color scheme. The bezels are thin, the punch-hole selfie camera is central, and the source claims that in addition to the colors shown below, there will be a champagne gold model and a white one. They also say that there's an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and that the back is made of glass. There's also apparently a Google Pixel 6 Pro - in fact that's what the render below shows, but other than the number of cameras (two rear ones on the Pixel 6 and three on the Pro) and possibly the color choices, the two look basically identical in this leak. Since that first glimpse at the design, another leaker has shared a second look at the Pixel 6 Pro, in unofficial renders that look near identical to the one above - though the design is perhaps slightly more angular here, and the bottom bezel looks as though it might be slightly bigger. There's also more detail in the camera block. You can see one of these more recent renders below, and the source also shared some details, claiming that the Google Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.67-inch curved AMOLED display, and dimensions of 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm (with an 11.5mm camera bump). The source also claims that the Google Pixel 6 Pro has dual stereo speakers, but that's to be expected on a premium phone. We've also heard from another source that Google will be using this design. They shared a leaked case which shows this camera bump too, providing yet more evidence that the company will go ahead with this look. Another case leak has also emerged, showing the possible design of both the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro. It more or less matches the leaks above, but the cases are shown here alongside a case for the 6.3-inch Pixel 4 XL, with the Pixel 6's being almost identical in size. And yet another case has also been spotted, but this one is available to buy and Phandroid did just that. The site claims that the case (for the Pixel 6 Pro) is around the same size as the OnePlus 9 Pro, so big but not overly enormous. The cut-outs on the camera module don't quite match the case above, but that's because fewer, larger holes have been used here so that multiple lenses or sensors can fit in one gap. Otherwise, the design is very similar. Elsewhere, we've heard that color options might not quite match those seen in renders so far, with another leaker saying to expect a peach, sand and pink three-tone option, along with a silver and black one, and a green model. The same source has also said that the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 120Hz QHD screen, while the Pixel 6 will have a smaller (possibly 6.4-inch) FHD flat screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. Based on renders, it seems the Pixel 6 will likely have a dual-lens rear camera, with the Pixel 6 Pro having a triple-lens one. Additionally, one source claims that the Pro model will have both a 'primary wide-angle camera' and a 'periscope telephoto camera'. They don't name the third sensor, but it's likely to be an ultra-wide. Indeed, elsewhere we've heard to expect a 50MP main camera with a larger sensor than on the Pixel 5, plus an 8MP periscope snapper with 5x optical zoom, and an ultra-wide camera. Interestingly, leaked case images (above) suggest that the Pixel 6 Pro might also have a different secondary lens to the Pixel 6, as the cut-out is smaller on the case for the Pro model. It's not clear how they would differ though. These cases and other leaks also suggest that it's the periscope camera that the standard Pixel 6 will lack, as such a snapper is usually square, and there's no sign of a square one on any Pixel 6 images. Code in the Google camera app meanwhile suggests that the front-facing camera on the Pixel 6 might support 4K video recording, which is higher resolution than most selfie cameras can get. We've also seen a Google patent, detailing a possible future phone that doesn't have a visible selfie camera. While the patent doesn't explain how this is achieved, it looks likely that the camera would be underneath the screen, as we've now seen on the ZTE Axon 20 5G. A more recent patent also talks about an under-display selfie camera, but we'd think if anything the Pixel 7, not the Pixel 6, will get this technology, since leaked Pixel 6 renders show a visible selfie camera. As for the battery, a source claims the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 5,000mAh one, with the Pixel 6 having a smaller one. We've also heard that - unsurprisingly - the phones will support wireless charging. They might support faster wireless charging than the 12W offered by the Pixel 5 though, as evidence of a new wireless charger has been found in Android 12 code, and there's mention of fans - a feature which helps keep the phone and charger cool when pumping out lots of power. Not a feature as such, but there's growing evidence that there could be two Pixel 6 models, as since news and images of the Pixel 6 Pro appeared, a mention of two different codenames and model numbers associated with the Pixel 6 range has been spotted in Android 12 beta code. There's the Oriole, with the model number GR1YH, and the Raven, with the model number GF5KQ. In earlier Android 12 code there were also two hints of possible Google Pixel 6 features. One of these is the existence of a one-handed mode, which further suggests a Pixel 6 XL or Pro could be on the way, as a non-XL phone wouldn't necessitate such a feature. The other is the possibility of an in-screen fingerprint scanner, something Google hasn't used before in its smartphones. A second Android 12 developer beta has turned up more evidence of an in-screen fingerprint scanner, so this is now looking more likely, especially as some of the renders above also show one. In terms of specs, the Pixel 6 may use an in-house chipset going by the codename of Whitechapel. This is rumored to be in the works for the phone and co-developed by Samsung. Rumors around this chip are gaining momentum, and we've now heard that it could be a 5nm chipset with a focus on AI and machine learning. However, it sounds like it won't match the best Android chipsets for performance, with a source claiming it will basically slot between the top-end Snapdragon 888 and the older Snapdragon 865 in terms of power. Another source has echoed these claims, saying that it rivals the Snapdragon 870 for power - a chipset that's high-end but not top-end. They added that its GPU performs well under stress. On the other hand, the Pixel 6 could use the Snapdragon 780G chipset. This has made its debut in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G, and it promises big performance improvements and better low light photography than the chipset in the Pixel 5. It's worth noting that this chipset hasn't specifically been linked to the Pixel 6, but it's a successor to the Snapdragon 765G chipset in the Pixel 5, so it would make sense. Alternatively the Pixel 6 could come running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 775 processor – this CPU hasn't been announced yet though, and may not exist as it's just a rumor for now. The most likely option by far at this point seems to be the Whitechapel chipset. Finally, we've heard the Pixel 6 could have UWB, or ultra-wideband technology. This is a short-range communications function that lets devices talk to each other if they're nearby - it can be useful for location tracking, so maybe the Pixel 6 will have some new feature regarding this? While we wait for further Google Pixel 6 leaks, we've pulled together some improvements we're hoping to see from the company for its next smartphone. The Google Pixel 5 wasn't the most interesting-looking smartphone in the world - in fact, some would go as far as calling it 'boring' as a standard 'chocolate-bar'-looking handset. Pixel phones have never been real lookers, but we'd like to see a Pixel 6 that was a little more memorable. Months before the Pixel 5 launch we saw an intriguing render that was as divisive as it was distinct, but it got people talking, which is more than you can say for the Pixel 5. Google Pixel phones have made a name for themselves by being great camera phones, but recent devices from the company don't actually have telephoto lenses, meaning all zooming is digital. That's essentially just cropping. This means zoom pictures tend to have lower resolutions and therefore look grainy, and it stops you zooming in as far using the camera app itself. We'd like to see Google bring telephoto cameras back to the Pixel line so we can take better zoom shots with the phones. The earliest few generations of Google Pixel smartphone were pretty small, so they were easy to use one-handed, fit in pockets well, and felt comfortable in the hand for people with smaller palms. That hasn't been the case for the brand's 2020 smartphones as much, but we'd love to see a return to smaller devices. The compact phone (or 'small phone') market is severely lacking, and Google could really corner it if it wanted. One of the main differences between older Pixel flagships, and the Pixel 5, was the choice to use a mid-range chipset instead of a top-end one. That's a fair decision in theory - not everyone needs top processing power, and most people can make do with middling power. However, the Pixel 5 didn't have 'middling power' as it was pretty weak. In our benchmark tests it performed poorly, and it didn't always handle gaming well. We'd like to see Google improve the performance of its phones, whether that's by using better chipsets, or by using mid-range processors with better optimizations.
Nintendo Switch Pro release date, price, specs and announcement
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 27 /152 

0.5
F1 live stream: how to watch every 2021 Grand Prix online from anywhere
(0.16/4)

Lewis Hamilton hasn't topped the podium in four races now, and Verstappen is now making the most of the most of the fact Mercedes is unwilling to invest in this season's machine. We've still got plenty of time for the season's outcome to be decided, though, as this year we've got a full house of events, a welcome relief from last year's truncated calendar. Read on as our guide explains how to watch an F1 live stream online from all over the world - and where you can watch absolutely free! After the thrills and spills of Azerbaijan, a slightly less dramatic outing to France, and two runs round the Red Bull Ring in Austria, the standings are looking a little more interesting. Verstappen is leading by 18 points, followed by Hamilton. After a well-deserved but ultimately surprising win in Azerbaijan, Perez leapfrogged Norris into third – although Hamilton is still well ahead of the trailing pack by over 40 points. So, it's still looking like a two-horse race, but as we head to Silverstone, absolutely anything could happen. In other news, Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari nightmare is finally over thanks to Aston Martin, formerly Racing Point. Replacing him in that iconic red car is Carlos Sainz, who's been replaced at McLaren by Daniel Ricciardo, who'd been on fire for Renault (now Alpine) in the latter stages of last season. Having come within a whisker of not having a seat at all, Sergio Perez's switch to Red Bull looks like a good move for both parties. There are plenty of new kids on the block too, with some proving more popular than others. Alpha Tauri have brought in the impressive 20-year-old Yuki Tsunoda to partner one of the standout performers of 2020, Pierre Gasly. Meanwhile, F2 champion Mick Schumacher - the son of legendary seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher - has been called up to Team Haas alongside the extremely controversial (to put it politely) Nikita Mazepin. Read on as we explain where to find an F1 live stream and watch every 2021 Formula 1 race online wherever you are right now. If you find yourself abroad at all during the 2021 F1 season, you'll likely find you're unable to access your usual Formula 1 coverage like you would at home. This isn't necessarily cause for alarm, but rather the result of geo-blocking - best understood as digital borders that restrict certain services and content to certain parts of the world. Fortunately, there's a convenient way around this in the form of a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. This is a nifty bit of software that lets you whizz around these digital borders, thereby allowing you to globe trot and still access your preferred F1 live stream. It's a completely legal workaround, very affordable, and super easy to use - allow us to explain more. Use a VPN to watch a 2021 F1 live stream from anywhere The F1 2021 season kicked off in Bahrain this March, marking a shift from the recent norm. The Australia GP has served as the traditional season-opener for a few years, but the race has now been cancelled for the second year in a row because of COVID-19. Note that the Grand Prix will take place on the last day listed for each event - the opening days host practice and qualifying sessions. Formula 1 is such a popular sport worldwide, it's no surprise that TV companies put a premium on F1 live streams. But there are some countries where the F1 is still shown on free TV. That may be the odd race or, for some lucky Grand Prix fans, every single one: Albania: every race on RTSH Austria: 12 races on ORF Eins and Servus TV Azerbaijan: every race on Idman TV Brazil: every race on Band France: Bahrain GP, Monaco GP, French GP,2 other races on C8 UK and Ireland: British GP only on Channel 4 Iran: every race on MBC Persia Luxembourg: every race on RTL Zwee Mexico: Mexican GP only on Canal 5 Middle East and North Africa: every race on MBC Action Russia: every race on Match TV United States: USA GP, Mexico GP on ABC
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 28 /152 

0.8
Best Switch games: the most essential Nintendo Switch games right now
(0.13/4)

If you’re on the lookout for the best Switch games to play anytime, anywhere and with anyone, you've come to the right place. When you have a Nintendo Switch, you also have access to a huge and varied game library that includes Nintendo’s own first-party exclusives like Animal Crossing, third-party blockbusters like Diablo 3 and some of the most inventive indie titles you’ll ever see. The best Nintendo Switch games really offer something for everyone. It’s a lot of choice, which is certainly great, but that can also leave you spending more of your precious time scrolling through the frustrating Nintendo eShop to find your next game than you do actually playing it. To help with that, we’ve put together this list of the best Switch games, highlighting the titles you absolutely shouldn’t miss. These games work across the Switch family, so whether you’re playing on the original Nintendo Switch, recently announced Nintendo Switch OLED or its handheld-only counterpart the Nintendo Switch Lite, these games are for you. We update our picks often so if you don’t see something right now, do check back for new releases. Now, read on for the best Switch games you can play right now. Looking to play online? You'll need Nintendo Switch Online for that. Meanwhile, if you want to play with friends, then check our picks of the best online multiplayer Switch games. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the first new entry in the mainline Animal Crossing series for almost eight years and the first entry to be playable on the Nintendo Switch - and it was definitely worth the wait. New Horizons whisks you off to a deserted island through an exclusive Nook Inc package. Your job is to get the island to be a top resort, attracting new islanders by sprucing things up and making your island a tropical paradise. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is packed with charm and the perfect game for those who want to kick back and just take things at their own pace. It’s familiar and fresh, deftly combining the old enjoyable parts of the series with some much-needed improvements and far greater depth than we’ve seen before. It just keeps giving, too, with regular seasonal updates to keep you invested. It's one of the best Switch games for relaxing and engaging play. Check out our full Animal Crossing review here. Cramming in hundreds upon hundreds of hours of RPG adventure, these double packs should not be missed. Pairing Planescape Torment with Icewind Dale, or the two Baldur's Gate games (plus all games' associated add-on packs) these enhanced editions for the Nintendo Switch make four classics PC role playing games playable on console for the first time. Cleverly converting mouse and keyboard control to on-the-go gamepad play, you're now able to take four of the most epic D&D-inspired role playing games with you wherever you go, and then dock them for big-screen play at home. The controls may take some getting used to, and the gameplay and visuals are of a certain slower vintage. But if you want an unmissable history lesson in role playing games, and want to settle into some unforgettable stories and choice-driven play, these excellent-value bundles are a must play. Not everyone would have had the chance to enjoy Bayonetta 2 when it was first released back in 2014, thanks to its Wii U exclusivity. Fortunately, it's now one of the best Nintendo Switch games, and it finally had a chance to reach a wider audience. Bayonetta 2 is an excellent game, with fast-paced and satisfying combat, jaw-dropping animations and frankly outstanding fashion choices. Even better, when you purchase a physical copy of Bayonetta 2, you'll also receive a free download code for the original game. More than anything, this is a great way to prepare for Bayonetta 3, which has been confirmed as being in development for the Switch. Few games are as universally acclaimed as this brilliant indie hit so of course we've named it one of the best Switch games. It's essentially a spin-off of Crypt of the Necrodancer, a rhythm-based rogue-like that sees you time your moves and attacks to the beat of the music. However, this Legend of Zelda Zelda-themed follow-up places the action in Hyrule itself – also allowing you to play as either Link or Zelda (Nintendo, take note). Blending the best of classic top-down Legend of Zelda games with a groovy, musical feel, and slick animations to match, it is the rhythm-based Zelda game we never knew we needed. From the developers of Towerfall, Celeste follows the story of Madeline, a young girl who decides to face her mental health issues by climbing to the top of the mysterious Celeste Mountain. In doing so, she learns more not only about the mountain but about herself as well throughout the process. An inevitable classic, Celeste integrates the obvious jump, air-dash and climb controls into a brutal series of platforming challenges in upwards of 700 unique screens. If that’s too easy, you’ll unlock B-side chapters along the way, designed for only the most intrepid of hardcore players. You don’t even have to worry about waiting an eternity between each respawn, as Celeste brings you back from the grave in an instant, a welcome departure from the typically extensive load screens. It's not only one of the best Switch games out there, but one of the best indie games too. What's left to be said about Dark Souls that hasn't already been spat out in blood, frustration and pure, unfiltered joy? The daddy of tough-as-nails adventure games, it's spawned a thousand imitators and a zillion curse words as adventurers stalk the deadly land of Lodran. Taking a methodical and precise approach to combat, it's as unforgiving as it is rewarding, making each hard-won victory against its monstrous foes a real achievement. Always fair, it's also a master of environmental story telling, revealing its secrets slowly as you gain command of its systems and best its enemies. Dark Souls: Remastered isn't quite as pretty on the Switch as it is on PS4 or Xbox One, but it does have the added benefit of on the go play (just don't go swearing on the bus). And there's a whole new wave of players to engage with when you activate its online mode – a key component of the series, with a new community eking out their first bold steps into its cruel world. It’s been quite a journey for Diablo 3. After a rocky start on PC way back in May of 2012 that saw online server crashes and criticism of the series’ famed addictive loot cycle, the game was overhauled in time for a last-gen console version in 2013 and a current-gen release on Xbox One and PS4 in 2014. Two excellent expansion packs and a host of game-improving tweaks later, Diablo 3 is not only a contender for the title of the greatest dungeon crawler of all time, but, somehow, it’s now portable, too. The Switch has done it again, with developer Blizzard cramming every improvement and piece of added content into this handheld version of the game. It not only works, but looks and plays amazingly too, making it one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can buy. Diablo 3 has evolved into one of the greatest games of its genre, and the added portable factor here arguably makes this the best version to pick up, so long as you’re not a mouse-and-keyboard PC purist. Check out our full Diablo 3 (Nintendo Switch) review. From Doom to Skyrim, the Nintendo Switch is becoming known for the seemingly-impossible handheld port, and with the release of Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition, it's bagged itself not only a fantastic technical achievement, but one of the finest RPGs ever made, too. Building on the foundations set by old-school RPG classics like Baldur's Gate, Divinity: Original Sin 2 has you on a literal quest for godhood, in a world where those with magical powers are marginalized. So far, so standard for an RPG title. But Divinity: Original Sin 2 comes into its own with just how flexible and freeing its systems are. With turn-based combat that takes as much inspiration from XCOM as it does from tabletop RPG spellcasting, you'll always be given multiple ways to progress, letting you combine items and environmental modifiers to take on foes in increasingly creative ways. Divinity: Original Sin 2 has more ideas in its first ten minutes than some games have in their entire duration: want to be an undead adventurer who can talk to skulls? Go for it. An animal-whisperer like Dr Doolittle? 100% go for it. Throw four-player online co-op into the mix, where anyone can do whatever they want, whenever they want, and you've a recipe for chaotic perfection. It's one of the few games where, if you can dream it up, you can probably do it in the game. A massive PC title, the fact its been squeezed onto the Switch at all is impressive alone. That it works so well as an on-the-go handheld title is testament to just how engrossing a game it was in the first place. A must play. It's not often you get to put a free game on the Nintendo Switch list but Fortnite Battle Royale is giving us this chance. We'd be amazed if you hadn't heard of it, but Fortnite: Battle Royale is the free-to-play hit from Epic Games which throws you into an online Battle Royale where you must fight and build to be the last person standing. The game was announced and launched on the Nintendo eShop during E3 2018. If you've not had the chance to play the Battle Royale phenomenon, the Nintendo Switch offers one of the most convenient ways to do it – especially if you find a smartphone screen just a little bit too small to truly play at your best. And if you already have an account you can move seamlessly between your Nintendo Switch, smartphone, PC and Xbox console. Check out our full Fortnite Battle Royale review. This excellent action RPG will look incredibly familiar to you if you've played Transistor, another game made by the same studio: Supergiant Games. Where Transistor was more of a straight cut experience, Hades is rogue-like, which means the levels are all procedurally generated, and no single area will be the same each time you enter it keeping the map fresh and exciting. With a killer soundtrack, hack-n-slash combat, interesting story and stellar RPG systems, Hades is extremely fun to play and will stave off any pangs of boredom. Suffice it to say, if you have an interest in Greek mythology, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much research Supergiant has put into this one, offering a truly exceptional experience. Sometimes there's far too much going on while you're playing which does make it all a bit hectic, but if you can get past the chaos you'll have hours of fun playing this game, as it's easily one of the best Switch games around. While we're all waiting for a new Metroid Prime game to land on the Nintendo Switch, you can still get your side-scrolling Metroidvania fix with the superb Hollow Knight. You know the score – you're placed in the center of a sprawling map that slowly reveals its scale as you unlock new abilities to traverse increasingly difficult traps, and take on ever-more monstrous foes. Secrets sit around every corner, and the sense of satisfaction you get when you backtrack to a previously-inaccessible location once armed with the right skills is unsurpassed in all of gaming. Hollow Knight separates itself from other Metroidvania titles with its distinct art style (mysterious underground bug city? Count us in), and its nods to the Dark Souls series, with tough boss fights and the strangely aloof citizens of its subterranean setting. Hollow Knight is comfortably one of the best Switch games you can buy today. The follow-up to Limbo, Playdead's Inside is one of the best modern platformer games on the market. But while Limbo focused on horror, Inside instead deals in sci-fi conspiracy. It's a somewhat Orwellian tale, which sees you playing as a young boy trying to escape from the oppression, tyrannical society in which he lives. While Inside is fairly short (lasting around three or four hours) it packs one heck of a punch in that time, delivering brain-bending puzzles, a unique and unsettling atmosphere and brilliant platforming action. All this adds up to make it an unforgettable experience and a worthy entry on our best Switch games list. Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U was already one of the best entries in the franchise, and the Nintendo Switch version is no different. In fact, it's one of the best Switch games full stop. At its core the game offers the same excellent racing as the Wii U original, but there are also a number of new additions for this version of the arcade racer. You've got the return of battle mode, new characters, all the previously released DLC tracks, and the ability to hold two special items at a time to add an extra layer of strategy to your racing. The new game is also a great way of playing the game in multiplayer. You can play online, in split-screen with up to four players, or link up to eight consoles together to play multiplayer wirelessly (where you can also play with up to two players per console). It's a versatile release, and well worth picking up for anyone who missed out on Mario Kart 8 the first time around. Monster Hunter Rise is an essential Switch experience and an impressive – if diluted – Monster Hunter experience that adds new mechanics to the already burgeoning toolset whilst creating fresh, fun experiences for newcomers and series veterans alike. The simplified premise of Monster Hunt Rise, like any Monster Hunter game, is that you hunting down some unforgettable monsters, harvest them for resources and use those resources to upgrade armor and weapons so you can take on even bigger monsters. At present a Nintendo Switch exclusive (but coming to PC at a later day), Rise has had to make some concessions in terms of fight complexity and difficulty for the Switch, but at its core Monster Hunter Rise is every ounce the satisfying, addictive experience its bigger, shinier brother is on Xbox and PlayStation consoles. For years, Ori and the Blind Forest was one of our favorite Metroidvania 2D dungeon crawlers on Nintendo Switch - it was heartfelt, beautiful and challenging, and the world simply oozed personality and intrigue. Years later, Moon Studios and Microsoft Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the first game's sequel that sees Ori and his makeshift family separated in an all-new environment. The new game in the series adds some new combat elements like a shard system that allows for more customization of Ori's abilities, while big boss battles help to make it more memorable and break up the puzzle-solving. If you need something a bit smaller than the average 40-hour RPG, and something less brutal than the latest first-person shooter, Ori is one of the best Switch games for that, offering a 12-hour challenge in a hauntingly beautiful world. Pokémon Sword and Shield are the first core Pokémon games to make their way to the Switch. Full of charm and fun, Sword and Shield bring some much-needed gameplay optimizations to the franchise alongside some fantastic new features such as the Wild Area. Set in the UK-inspired Galar region, Sword and Shield introduce a whole new world to investigate and new Pokémon to capture. And, while we can't help but feel they don't quite live up to some of the better predecessors, it's definitely worth picking up on Switch. Since the release of Sword and Shield we've also seen two very worthwhile expansions released: Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. These are sold-separately but add a lot to your Galar experience and make two of the best Switch games even better. Still not sure? Then check out our full Pokémon Sword and Shield review. More uncertain on whether you want Sword or Shield? Let us take you through the differences. Sonic Mania Plus is a Nintendo Switch must-have for those who love Sega's charismatic blue hedgehog. Sonic Mania was originally released in 2017, and follows Sonic, Tails and Knuckles as they aim to take down Dr Eggman. Made up of 12 levels, Sonic Mania pays homage to the original Sonic games, with side-scrolling action and redesigned versions of iconic levels from the series. Sonic Mania Plus is an expanded version of Sonic Mania, adding new playable characters, a new Encore mode and other improved features. While you can buy Sonic Mania Plus as a standalone game, those who own Sonic Mania can also upgrade to the definitive edition for around $5. Sonic Mania Plus is the best Sonic game we've seen in a long time and is easily one of the best Switch games on the market. Splatoon was the closest Nintendo has ever allowed itself to get to an online shooter, and it did so by fundamentally turning the genre on its head. That means no guns, no bullets, and ultimately no death. Instead, you play as characters with paint guns tasked with covering the map in your team's colors. You can kill (well,'splat') your enemies, but you do so only in service of buying yourself time to paint more of the map without your opponents (and their painting) getting in the way. While Splatoon 2 is technically a sequel, in truth it's more of the same. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The original game was tightly designed and well-balanced, and while the sequel makes some minor tweaks to the gameplay, the same Nintendo charm is still present in spades. If you never played the original then Splatoon 2 is an easy game to recommend, but even if you did then it might be worth jumping in again to revisit it on Nintendo's portable system. For our money it's certainly one of the best Switch games you can pick up. Stardew Valley is one of those games that always felt like it was supposed to be on a Nintendo console, and we couldn't have been happier when it was released recently for the Switch. If you've ever played a Harvest Moon game, you’re already familiar with the premise of Stardew Valley: it's an addictive farming simulator which sees you interact with townees to the point where you can literally marry them. Stardew Valley isn't just one thing though, it's a whole bunch of things at once. You can engage in crafting, fishing, cooking and even exploring procedurally-generated caves to mine for items and even take on monstrous enemies. However, do keep in mind your health and energy, as you'll need to make sure your character is in tip-top shape in order to avoid suffering from exhaustion – lose health and you lose a considerable amount of money and items you’ve worked hard to attained. Stardew Valley will have you hooked for hours on end, for better or worse. (Better, definitely better.) At heart, Super Mario Maker 2 has a simple premise: let players design their own Mario levels. But even that single aim provides near-endless amounts of fun and creation with Nintendo’s joyful and chaotic level editor. A follow-up from the original Super Mario Maker game on Wii U, and its eventual 3DS port, this sequel / reboot on the Nintendo Switch manages to avoid several pitfalls from the previous entry, making for a more widely accessible title that still retains the joy of giving you the keys to Mario’s inner workings. Whether those keys are literally keys, or rather Chain-Chomps and flying Goombas, is completely up to you. The addition of a Luigi Assist mode, and a willingness to give you all the tools you need from the outset, make this a vastly more accessible entry, and one that has something for any budding designer out there – or simply someone wanting to understand the workings of their favorite Mario games a little better. Read the full Super Mario Maker 2 review Super Mario Odyssey is Mario's first real outing on the Nintendo Switch and he makes his debut in style in one of the best Switch games there is. Odyssey is a 3D sandbox adventure that sees Mario travel between a wide range of worlds to save Princess Peach from the nefarious and maritally-minded Bowser. Giving the old formula a bit of a refresh, this game sees the traditional Power Ups replaced with a new companion for Mario called Cappy. This sentient hat is Mario's weapon and friend and he can be used to possess enemies and objects to solve puzzles and defeat foes. In our full Super Mario Odyssey review we called this game "one of Mario's finest adventures in recent memory" and recommend that you play it now – it's instantly one of the best Switch games out there. If you decide to pick the game up for yourself, don't forget to check out our tips and tricks guide to help you get started. Super Mario Bros.3D World gets a deserved second opportunity to shine in this Nintendo Switch port, offering up the best-realized Mario multiplayer experience Nintendo has created yet. The addition of Bower’s Fury, a short but sweet Mario game in its own right, seals the deal on making this one of the best Switch games on the market. Nintendo is often accused of being a bit stingy with its re-releases – the barebones offering of Super Mario 3D All-Stars didn’t go unnoticed. But this Super Mario Bros.3D World rerelease, packaged as it is with the Bowser’s Fury adventure, is a generous joy. Bowser’s Fury is a treat – the topping you didn’t know would work on your favorite ice cream flavor. Its conceit shouldn’t work, but does, with the looping Fury mechanic surely now set to be revived in a full-size, full-fat, wholly-original adventure of its own. It’s definitely worthy of one. Check out our full Super Mario Bros.3D World + Bowser’s Fury review. Super Smash Bros. is back and the party game that sees friends turn into enemies has definitely found its home on the Nintendo Switch. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate packs in more fighters, more stages, more gameplay modes, and more tactical elements of any game in the franchise. This is, for all intents and purposes, the definitive Super Smash Bros., with everything that entails – and plenty of juicy Smash Bros DLC (Joker! Piranha Plant! Banjo-Kazooie!) to keep you occupied after you've unlocked the main roster of fighters. If you're looking for a Nintendo Switch game that is fun for the whole family, then you definitely can't go wrong with Smash. It's without a doubt one of the best Switch games for groups. Read our full Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review. When you've got a game as near-perfect as Tetris already is, how can you put a fresh spin on it to keep a new generation of players hooked? By tapping into the latest modern gaming crazes, that's how. Tetris 99 takes the classic block-building, line-making formula, and fuses it with a battle-royale multiplayer system. You and 99 other Tetris fans go head to head, making lines as quickly as possible and sending screen-filling blocks to each other's screens to knock each other out. The last person standing wins. One quick five minute game soon becomes a two hour session, and with regular challenges and additional modes to purchase, it's great fun. As a free download to those who subscribe to Nintendo Online, it's the best reason to sign up for the service, too. Even for a series like The Legend of Zelda which rarely puts a foot wrong, Breath of the Wild is an absolutely phenomenal game on the Nintendo Switch (with an upcoming sequel, Breath of the Wild 2, currently in the works). While past Zelda games have stuck pretty closely to the formula established by Ocarina of Time (the series' 3D debut), Breath of the Wild throws much of the established wisdom away. Rather than having a pre-defined order you must use to approach each major mission, Breath of the Wild opens the entire map up to you almost immediately, allowing you to approach the game in whatever order you see fit. You can spend hours just climbing trees and brewing elixirs, or you can even head straight to the game’s final boss if you're feeling a little more confident. Away from Breath of the Wild's unique structure, it's the puzzles themselves that make the game feel the most satisfying. While previous games rigidly allow for a single solution to each puzzle, BotW's physics-based problem solving means that there are often multiple solutions to each challenge depending on how you combine your various skills. The result is a game that feels incredibly broad in scope, with so many little touches to discover that it’s hard not to fall in love with this long-running series all over again. Read our full The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 on the Nintendo Switch is the perfect game for kicking back with at home or while taking a break at the skatepark. Whether you’re a skateboarding newbie or a long-time pro, this is a fantastic game you’ll want to add to your library. The gameplay is superb, hitting the sweet spot of being easy to learn and challenging to master. Using ramps, rails and roadworks you have to rack up points by chaining together various tricks, and the slick button inputs mean that you’ll never lose a combo unfairly. And while the loop is repetitive, it never gets stale thanks to the wide range of tracks and levels you can explore. There are traditional skateparks alongside abandoned shopping malls and city streets. You can unlock new levels by completing challenges which cater to a range of abilities, meaning that you don’t have to be a combo expert to progress through the game. You also can’t ignore this game’s fantastic licensed soundtrack, which blends classics from the original game like Superman by Goldfinger and Rage Against The Machine’s Guerrilla Radio with more modern hits like Skepta’s iconic Shutdown. The only downside is an expected on – the Switch version’s graphics are a noticeable downgrade from what’s available on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. However, graphics don’t bother everyone and they don’t noticeably impact the gameplay. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 manages to capture the best of skateboarding culture and is an absolute must-have for anyone gaming on Nintendo’s hardware. Undertale is one of those games that stays with you. A work of digital art whose charm and creativity never fails to keep its edge, no matter of how many times you play it through. And considering just how many innocuous JRPGs are out there right now, that’s a pretty extraordinary feat in itself. So why is Undertale so superb? It takes all the best elements from the ever-evolving RPG genre and weaves a world built on choice, consequence and compassion. As a child dropped into an underground world filled with terrors, you’ll have to face a whole host of monsters to make it home. How you face them and what choices you make, define your journey. And its Telltale-esque consequence system doesn’t just extend to dialogue choices – you can spare monsters after a fight, forging possible crucial alliances for later in the game. You can even end fights by telling your opponent jokes. It’s a game of such warm and pleasant quality you’d almost believe it was a JRPG from the earliest heyday of the genre - making it one of the best Switch games around.
OLED is having a moment – and not just with Nintendo Switch
techradar.com
Nintendo Switch 2: what can we expect from Nintendo’s next home console?
techradar.com
Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite: is bigger really better?
techradar.com

 

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XDA Basics: How to Backup all your Data on an Android Smartphone
(0.06/4)

Getting a new smartphone can be really exciting. New features, latest hardware, better performance, and of course the experience of unboxing a brand new phone. Once you start setting up the phone though, your excitement may to die down a little when you realize you have to transfer all your important data from your old phone to your new phone. The process can be tedious and intimidating if you’re not well-versed with how to back up and restore your data on Android, or if you’re doing the process for the first time. There are several ways where you can back up your data on Android and easily restore it on your new phone. Even if you aren’t getting a new phone, it’s a good idea to back up your data once in a while to make sure you don’t lose out on any important information in case of a mishap. Note that, unlike an iPhone, there’s no one-click backup option on Android (unless you’re rooted) that backs up all your data completely from apps and app data to photos and contacts. So we’ll discuss multiple apps and solutions you can use to make sure all your important data is backed up and ready to be restored on your new phone. It can be quite a lengthy process that involves installing a few apps, but that’s the only way you can make sure all your data is safe. Navigate this guide: Before we discuss ways of backing up your data on your Android smartphone and then restoring it on your new phone, let’s actually look at some solutions that can directly migrate/transfer your existing data, either via a wired connection, or wirelessly which can save you a good amount of time. While setting up a new Android phone, you have to go through the setup menu where you have to connect to your Wi-Fi network, log into your Google account, etc. During this setup process, you will encounter an option called Copy Apps and Data. When you hit Next, you’ll be given an option to copy your existing data from another Android phone wirelessly. Select it and follow the on-screen instructions to copy all your data from your old phone to your new phone. If the new phone you bought is a Google Pixel, you’ll even have the option to connect it to your old phone via a USB cable to transfer the data. If your new phone is from OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Vivo, or Huawei, you’ll see an option during the setup process that lets you clone your old phone using the respective OEM’s application. You just have to install the app on your old phone and follow the instructions. All your data including photos, videos, and even applications will be copied to your new phone. If you’re not going to have your old phone with you when you get your new phone, either because you’re going to exchange it for a new one or sell it off before buying a new phone, the only solution in such a scenario is to back up your data and then restore it on the new phone. Here’s how you can do that using different methods. If you weren’t aware, Google has its own backup and restore feature baked into every Android smartphone. This can be found under Settings > System > Backup and Restore. On your old phone, head over to this setting and enable backing up data to Google Drive. Allow it some time to back up your data and once it’s done, you can restore the backup while setting up your new phone. Select the option to restore a backup from the cloud and just log in using the same Google Account you used on your old phone to back up the data. You’ll then get the option to restore your apps, contacts, call logs, SMS messages, and some settings from your old phone. Note that the apps will be reinstalled from the Play Store so the entire restoration process will take some time depending on the speed of your internet connection. Using this method, you can transfer the core aspects of your old phone to your new phone, but data like photos and videos, files, app data, etc. will not be transferred via this method. Read on to find out how you can back up those files as well. Some brands like Samsung and Xiaomi offer their own cloud solutions for backing up your data and they even do a better job at it compared to Google’s implementation. You can back up your apps, photos, files, contacts, settings, and even your home screen layout and restore it on your new phone, essentially cloning almost every single aspect of your old phone. However, note that to use this option, both your old phone as well as the new phone should be from the same manufacturer, and you should have sufficient free storage on the cloud platform you’re using (Samsung Cloud or Mi Cloud). To use this feature, back up all your data on your old phone via the Settings app to the respective cloud server used by your OEM. If you don’t have sufficient storage to back up all the data, you may even have to pay for it. Once backed up, you will get an option to restore this data from the cloud while you’re setting up a new smartphone from the same OEM. This one’s for all the enthusiasts and the OG XDA crowd out there! If you have a phone with a custom recovery like TWRP for example, you can take a complete backup of your system and data from the recovery. This nandroid backup backs up every single aspect of your phone and literally replicates how your phone was before you made any changes. While you can’t restore a TWRP backup from one phone to a different phone (unless they’re the exact same phone), it’s extremely helpful if you’re flashing a new ROM or making changes to your system that may end up bricking your device. If you have limited internet bandwidth and can’t afford to back up all your data to the cloud or download hundreds of apps from the cloud, there are ways in which you can back up your apps locally as well and transfer the back up to your new phone in order to restore your apps. Here’s how you can do that. App Backup & Restore is a popular app that has been around for a long time. It helps you to back up all your apps in the form of APK files either to your internal storage or an external SD card. If your old and new phones have an SD card slot, we would recommend using this option since it’s easy to swap the SD card from one phone to the other and restore the backup. If your phone doesn’t have an external SD card slot, you can back up the data to your internal storage and then transfer the backed-up files to your computer or flash drive. Then copy those files to your new phone and restore the APKs using the same app. Note that you can only transfer the apps using this method and not app data. Once again, if you’ve been on the XDA forums for a while, you’re surely aware of Titanium Backup. This app lets you back up all your apps, including system apps with data, which can save you a lot of time when you restore hundreds of apps. However, you need root access to be able to do that, so this is another great tool for when you’re switching ROMs and want to restore all your apps and data with a single press of a button. Once you’ve transferred your apps, the next important thing to do is transfer all your contacts from your old phone to your new phone. While there are several ways to do this, the easiest method is to use Google’s own sync feature. For contacts stored on your phone’s storage or on your SIM card, you can export them to your new phone. Let’s see how you can do both. By default, every new contact you save on your smartphone is stored on your Google account instead of your phone’s internal storage. Due to this, it becomes handy to transfer your contacts to your new phone without much effort. All you have to do on your old phone is navigate to Settings > Accounts > Select your Google account > Sync and select Contacts. Wait for it to finish syncing. Now, when you log in with the same Google account on your new phone, your contacts will automatically be synced and restored in the background. If you have contacts stored on your phone’s local storage or on your SIM card, and you wish to transfer those to your new phone, head over to the Phone app on your old smartphone, go to Settings, and select Export Contacts. This option may be present in different places on different phones but you’ll find it under Settings so dig around a little. Then select the contacts you want to export and your phone will create a.vcf file which you can then transfer to your new phone. On your new phone, go to the Phone app and in Settings, select the Import Contacts option. When asked to select the.vcf file to restore contacts, select the one you imported from your old phone. Your contacts will now be restored. This is another vital aspect for a lot of people. You may have important SMS messages you don’t want to lose so it’s a good idea to back up your conversations and restore them on your new phone. This can be done with the help of a third-party app. There are several apps you can find on the Google Play Store to do this, but the one we’ve tried and can vouch for is SMS Backup & Restore. This is one of the best apps to back up your SMS messages, as well as call logs from your old phone, and we even featured it in our list of best messaging apps. The app is free to download and is pretty straightforward. You can back up all your message threads with the click of a button, either locally or to the cloud (which we recommend). Once you’ve backed up everything, you just have to install the same app on your new phone and log in with the same credentials so the app can access the cloud storage you chose to restore the backup. WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging service s used by a majority of people all over the world. The issue with WhatsApp though is that, unlike Telegram, it’s not a cloud-based messaging app. So all your conversations and messages are stored locally on your phone. What this means is every time you sign up for WhatsApp on a new device, your chats are not automatically transferred. However, the good thing is WhatsApp allows you to back up your chats from within the app itself. You can store the backup either locally or to your Google Drive which is what we recommend since it’s easier to restore on your new phone. To do this, head over to WhatsApp > Settings > Chats > Chats Backup and select the Backup option. If you haven’t done this before, you’ll have to select which Google account you want your chats to be backed up to. Once you select that, just wait for a while and your chats will be backed up. Now, when you sign up with your phone number on WhatsApp on your new phone, you will automatically get an option to restore your backup from Drive, provided you’ve signed in with the same Google account as your old phone. Note that your WhatsApp backup doesn’t take up your Google Drive’s storage space so don’t worry about it eating up additional storage on your Drive. Generally, media files such as photos and videos occupy a good chunk of your phone storage. If you want to back up these files and restore them on your new phone wirelessly, the best way to do it would be to use Google Photos. While Google Photos used to offer unlimited free backup for photos and videos until June 1st, 2021, the backup will now consume space on your Google Drive. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re only going to back up your photos until you restore them on your new phone and then delete the backup to free up space. To back up all your photos and videos, open the Google Photos app on your old phone and wait for all your files to sync. Now, open the Photos app on your new phone and if you’re logged in with the same Google account, you should be able to see all your media files displayed. However, if you don’t want these files to continue occupying the storage on your Drive, it’s a good idea to download all the photos and videos onto your new phone’s internal storage and then delete them from Google Photos. If you’ve backed up all your important data and the only files remaining are some documents and folders on your internal storage, the best way to back up such files would be to copy them to your external SD card if your phone supports it. You can also upload the files to the cloud and then download them later on to your new phone. Another good way to back up those files would be via OTG. If you have an OTG cable and a pen drive, you can connect it to your old phone and copy all the data you want to the pen drive. This method of connecting a flash drive, an external hard disk, or SSD, can even be used to copy media files like photos and videos if you don’t have sufficient storage space on your Google Drive. You can use any file manager app to do this. Most phones come with a built-in file manager app but in case your phone doesn’t have one, we recommend Files by Google. If you follow all the steps we mentioned under every segment, all your important data from your phone should now be safely backed up and ready to be restored on your new phone. While Google does offer a backup and restore feature, it isn’t as seamless as what Apple offers with iCloud. Hopefully, we’ll get to see a more powerful backup and restore tool by default baked into Android sometime in the future, that can even help you restore things like app data, home screen layout, login credentials for apps, and more.
XDA Basics: How to Factory Reset your Android phone
xda-developers.com
XDA Basics: How to Factory Reset your iPhone or iPad
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Linux servers are getting a welcome security upgrade
(0.02/4)

Cybersecurity firm Sophos has acquired Linux security vendor Capsule8 in a bid to extend its protection cover to Linux servers. Capsule8 offers a threat detection platform for securing Linux production environments across bare-metal and virtualized servers, as well as containers, whether deployed on-premise or in the cloud. Acquired for an unknown sum, Sophos intends to integrate Capsule8’s protection platform into its Adaptive Cybersecurity Ecosystem (ACE) platform. “As more organizations shift to Linux servers, adversaries have noticed, and they are adapting and customizing their approaches to attack these systems. To stay protected, organizations must factor in a strong, but lightweight layer of Linux security that automatically integrates and shares intelligence with endpoint, network and other security layers and platforms within an estate,” said Sophos’ chief product officer, Dan Schiappa. Sophos leans on insights provided by its research arm SophosLabs, to suggest that adversaries are increasingly designing tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to specifically target Linux systems, for all kinds of malicious activities from cryptomining to ransomware. “Attackers today are incredibly aggressive and nimble as they adapt their TTPs to focus on the easiest, largest or fastest-growing opportunities,” reasons Schiappa. The combination will enable Sophos to offer a one-stop solution to help businesses protect their Windows and Linux infrastructure, enabling them to better optimize their resources. He adds that besides ACE, Sophos will also integrate the Capsule8 security platform with the rest of Sophos’ security portfolio, including its extended detection and response (XDR) solutions, the Intercept X server protection tools, and Sophos managed threat response (MTR) and rapid response services. Sophos expects to make the combined Sophos and Capsule8 products available to its easy access customers later in the year.
Almost all experts say multi-cloud needs a serious security upgrade
techradar.com

 

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0.8
You'd Better use Asynchronous Communication
(0.02/4)

Join the DZone community and get the full member experience. If you haven't listened to my interview with Cate on Dev Interrupted, I really recommend it. After years of experience managing dev teams asynchronously, Cate Huston, Engineering Director at DuckDuckGo, joined me to discuss why communicating asynchronously makes more sense for distributed dev teams. With over 1200 members, the Dev Interrupted Discord Community is the best place for Engineering Leaders to engage in daily conversation. No sales people allowed. Join the community >> Published at DZone with permission of Dan Lines, DZone MVB. See the original article here. Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.
Monitoring Velero Backup and Restore With BotKube
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0.6
What is OLED? Black levels, burn-in, and pixels explained
(0.02/4)

What does OLED mean? Many of us have heard this term before, whether in reference to TVs, laptops, and the new Nintendo Switch OLED – but it’s not always easy to define in a sea of tech-related acronyms. Put simply, OLED is a type of advanced panel technology. Next time you visit an electronics retailer – whether that’s in real-life or online – take a look around. You’ll find the vast majority of new, high-end TVs that you can buy are OLED TVs. (It's found on plenty of premium smartphones and iPhones, too.) For starters, OLED stands for ‘Organic Light Emitting Diode’. This describes the type of panel used within an OLED TV to display all the things you see: colors, light and images. It’s this that makes OLED different to other kinds of TV technologies, including CRT (cathode ray tube), LED (light-emitting diode), LCD (liquid crystal display), or QLED (quantum dot). OLED uses an organic material that's generally more costly to produce than other kinds of displays, with less of a shelf life, but the advantages it can give you are massive. Compared to competing display types, OLED TVs bring you better image quality (think blacker blacks and brighter whites), reduced power consumption, and much faster response times – that last point being a great addition for any gaming TV too. As a general rule, don’t feel like you need to learn what every tech term means – that would be exhausting. But if you’re looking to buy one of the best TVs or screen-based gadget, we think it’s worth learning more about OLED. These days, it’s only Samsung’s QLED panels that offer a rival to this type of tech – while Micro LED still has a way to go before it catches up. The most critical question you need to answer if you’re in the market for a new TV or display that features OLED is this: should you believe the OLED hype? Our guide below will run you through everything you need to know. Don’t have time to read a whole article? Watch our quick OLED explainer video instead: OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, with "organic" referring to the carbon film that sits inside the panel before the glass screen. OLED panels emit their own light when an electric current is passed through, whereas cells in a LCD-LED display require an external light source, like a giant backlight, for brightness. This backlight is what separated LCD screens from their LED variants. A traditional LCD screen has a backlight (called a cold-cathode fluorescent light, or CCFL) which is uniform across the entire back of the screen. This means that whether the image is black or white, it is being lit by exactly the same brightness across the panel. This reduces what we call "hotspots," or areas of super bright light, because the actual light source illuminating them is uniform. This all started a few years back when engineers at companies like Samsung and Sony introduced an array of LEDs as a backlight, which meant that if a certain part of the screen was black then those LEDs behind that portion could be turned off to make it appear blacker. This is a better solution than a CCFL backlight, but it still has its problems. Since it's a light behind the LCD producing the illumination rather than the LCD layer itself, the illumination is not entirely in-sync with the pixel in front of it. The result is an effect called 'blooming', whereby LED light from bright portions of the image bleeds over into areas of blackness. This is what separates OLEDs from LCD/LED displays. In an OLED TV display, the pixels themselves are the things producing the light, and so when they need to be black they are able to turn off completely, rather than relying on a backlight to turn off on their behalf. The result is remarkably dark blacks in an image, and when you combine this with the bright whites of an OLED panel, you're left with a fantastically vibrant image. LG and Panasonic, pretty much the most consistent producers of OLED televisions on the planet, like to use the term "infinite contrast" to describe how the self-lighting pixels switch off completely when reproducing black giving it an "absolute" black color instead of a "relative" black that only describes how dark one pixel can get compared to the brightest pixel on the screen. For years there was a question mark about longevity of OLED panels, while production lines have been impossible to make profitable due to high failure rates. But as companies like LG invest billions in development of OLED – with the likes of Philips and Sony joining the fray – its affordability is improving, even if it's still more expensive than competing technologies. Current production issues for LG's most recently-opened TV factory won't be helping that price drop come quicker, either. The advantages of OLED go beyond simple static image quality, though, to the responsiveness and smoothness of the display itself, meaning gamers and home cinema aficionados are going to absolutely love OLED TV. OLED panels are capable of a refresh rate of as low as 0.001ms, which for reference, is around 1,000 times faster than a standard LED-backlit LCD panel, while also being superior to the now-discontinued plasma tech, too. And, because the lighting source they use is so tiny, the depth of screen sizes has shrunk at the same rate. That means OLED TVs have awesomely deep blacks and bright, peak whites, improved color accuracy as well as smooth responsive motion - and all from a form factor that's just a few millimeters in depth and much lighter than standard TVs. OLED isn't just a TV technology, of course. It's found in countless premium smartphones, as well as the new Nintendo Switch OLED – a 2021 twist on the beloved gaming console that packs an OLED screen rather than the LCD display used on the existing Switch and Switch Lite. Its arrival in a revamped Nintendo gaming console is no accident, though. Nintendo's decision to utilize OLED speaks to the tech's ability to deliver premium image quality, and we only expect it to enhance the experience of handheld gaming, just as it's enhanced the viewing experience of countless OLED TVs. An OLED Switch should make for even more vibrant colors and improved contrast – crucial for the increasingly lavish and detailed graphics of modern games – with the deep blacks associated with OLED panels ensuring stark images in games such as the upcoming Breath of the Wild 2. Its OLED's self-emissive nature that helps in this regard, ensuring that 'off' pixels are actually off, creating a real black rather than a semi-convincing gray. This also means the level of contrast between bright and dark areas of the screen is massive, even 'infinite'. It's telling that Nintendo has opted for OLED for a premium step-up model of its console, even increasing the size of the screen so that you can better appreciate the new Switch's self-emissive pixels. Those pixels can also instantaneously switch between states, meaning that response times are very fast – ideal for responsive play, or for getting the edge in competitive gaming. Read more: Nintendo Switch OLED release date, price, and specs OLED TVs have been on the market since 2012, and a variety of manufacturers have tackled the technology over the years. It used to be the case that OLEDs were produced by just Samsung and LG. But Samsung dropped the technology over its cost and how difficult it was to produce, and has no intention of restarting production any time soon. More recently, Hisense ditched its OLED focus too. LG, on the other hand, has been releasing OLED sets consistently over the last few years. The 2020 LG TV line-up has seen a new LG CX Series OLED, an LG GX ‘Gallery’ Series OLED to replace the old LG E9, an LG Signature ZX 8K OLED, as well as many others. LG also had plenty of new TVs to showcase at the CES 2021 expo, including a budget OLED TV series, the A1 OLED. This was just one among many announcements from the TV maker, including the arrival of a new 42-inch compact OLED size, a brightness boost with the 'OLED evo' LG Gallery Series OLED. It seems LG is also expanding its range of TV sizes, with an 83-inch size set to come to every new OLED 4K TV LG is releasing in 2021. We heard direct from LG Display itself that an even smaller 42-inch size is on its way for 2021 too. If you're not big into LG TVs, there are plenty more OLED TVs to look forward to in 2020 too. The Panasonic 2020 TV line-up includes the high-end Panasonic HZ2000 OLED, as well as a more affordable HZ980 series that's new for this year – while more mid-range OLED sets like the Philips 55OLED754 continue to perform well in our tests. You can also head to our best OLED TVs guide to see the top models we've had the pleasure of reviewing on the site – or our OLED TV deals page for the cheapest sets going right now. OLED TVs are definitely getting cheaper, but they're still a long way from what we'd call affordable. The prices of new LG TVs start at $1,399 / £1,099 / AU$2,130 (that's the LG A1 OLED 's price tag, specifically), and those made by Panasonic and Sony are usually more expensive still. The scarcity of OLED TVs on the market has meant that those small number of players in the market are more or less free to charge exactly what they want. An increase in competition, though, is helping to change that, as is the introduction of a new 48-inch OLED size and a scaling up of production helping to drop the cost of budget OLED TVs. Occasionally a year-old model will now drop to three-figure sums, though, with the Vizio H1 OLED selling for $899 in flash sales, or the Philips 754 going for £999 in the UK – and we're definitely at something of a tipping point. The arrival of 42-inch OLEDs down the line would certainly help matters too. It's definitely worth keeping an eye out for end-of-year sales.Black Friday and Cyber Monday usually have numerous good deals on OLED TVs – and given their usually high starting price, you can often get hundreds discounted at the right time. Cheaper OLEDs, though can still see notable price cuts that bring them more within reach of mid-range buyers. You're going to see a price premium on most OLED display gadgets other than TVs, too. The new Nintendo Switch OLED costs $349.99 / £309.99 / AU$539, which is a notable uptick from the $299.99 / £279.99 / AU$449 price tag of the mainline LCD model. What is OLED burn-in? Burn in, or image retention, is when an image or sequence is played so often and continuously on a television set that it leaves a permanent mark on the panel – obviously not ideal for a home television. You don't particularly need to worry, as it largely happens only when displaying a static image or sequence on repeat, as with a display unit in a showroom or retail store. You should get several years warranty, anyhow, and we don't see many home cinema fans using their OLED TV in this way. TV makers like LG are also working to limit the risk of this, with screen saver features, a Screen Shift function that "moves the screen slightly at regular intervals to preserve image quality", and "Logo Luminance Adjustment, which can detect static logos on the screen and reduce brightness to help decrease permanent image retention" (via LG.com). But if you're planning on leaving your TV for countless hours at a time – say, to parent the children in your absence, or to play the same looping video over and over – then OLED may not be the right panel technology for you. OLED is an expensive panel technology that has finally managed to gain traction – after spending so long as an outlier than we wrote an opinion piece in 2014 about how the technology might be dead. Obviously that didn't turn out to be the case, and we're seeing plenty of stunning OLED models hitting the market, even if price points are still taking an age to drop within reach of regular consumers. But just because OLED isn't affordable yet doesn't mean it's not getting better. Even at the bottom end, a $1,200 / £1,200 price tag isn't what we'd consider budget, but it's a great deal cheaper than what OLED was retailing for even just a year ago. That trend is always going to be good news for the consumer, though manufacturers may have other things in mind. LG's rollable OLED – which unfurls out of a box, either on the floor or ceiling – has now released in South Korea, with a wider release seeming likely in 2021. New form factors like these, including even transparent panels, are forever in the works, though not all of these experimental ideas end up making it to market. Samsung is one of several TV makers looking to develop what's called QD-OLED: a new type of OLED panel that uses quantum dot emitters to improve brightness. The tech is very much in development, but when it arrives, it could meld the competing QLED and OLED technologies and render previous methods of production obsolete. Those are obviously grand claims, and we're yet to see these new hypothetical panels put to use – but we'll be sure to keep you in the loop as it does / doesn't happen. Many companies and researchers are also actively working to make OLED even better and brighter. OLED TVs are notorious for their dim output, but there's promising news from researchers at the University of Michigan. A team has developed a new electrode that can 'liberate' 20% more light from respective screens at the same time as increasing energy efficiency and improving the battery life of OLED displays. Right now this only applies to portable displays – smartphones and the like – but it's a good step for TVs too. Original reporting in this article was by Jamie Carter.
HDR10+: the new HDR standard that's taking a leaf out of Dolby's book
techradar.com

 

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1.0
What is Norton 360 for Gamers and what does it do?
(0.02/4)

It’s obvious enough that Norton 360 for Gamers is an antivirus which is aimed firmly at the gaming community. The name gives that away, after all. However, there’s a bit more to this security suite than merely its ‘good for gamers’ credentials. Just why is it good for gaming? What kind of features does Norton 360 for Gamers offer, what are its core defenses like, and how does Norton tailor this package to be a positive and useful experience for gamers? To find the answers to these questions and more, read on. Norton for Gamers is a version of Norton 360 Deluxe with certain tweaks and features aimed specifically at gamers to optimize the security suite for this audience. You get all the features provided with Norton 360 Deluxe – and that’s plenty – plus some extras to help ensure that your gaming sessions run more smoothly. The highlights of Norton 360 for Gamers core features which are also delivered with Norton 360 Deluxe are as follows: Real-time threat protection The core antivirus protection defends your device from malware, maintaining a constant shield against all manner of online nastiness, with very sound web protection, and an intelligent firewall to boot. PC cloud backup Windows PCs get a bundled backup tool which is very user-friendly and equipped with 50GB of online storage space. Parental controls An in-depth system of parental controls goes beyond web filtering and includes extensive monitoring facilities (with GPS tracking to keep tabs on kids via their mobiles). Remember though, as noted above, Mac users don’t get this. Password Manager A built-in password manager takes the sting out of trying to remember passwords while keeping them ultra-secure, doing all the hard work for you. Secure VPN Norton’s VPN service is bundled with this suite, giving you extra privacy and security online – it can be used across all devices, saving you the cost of buying a separate VPN. Norton Secure VPN isn’t the best offering in the world, but it’s decent enough, if rather short on features. As well as the above which you get with Norton 360 Deluxe, Norton 360 for Gamers further adds these gaming features into the mix, although note that these only work on Windows PCs (except for dark web monitoring, of course, which is platform agnostic): Dark web monitoring While Norton 360 Deluxe offers dark web monitoring for any of your personal details which may have been leaked online, Norton 360 for Gamers also covers your gaming accounts and gamer tags. Game Optimizer This nifty new addition to Norton 360 for Gamers aims to shift CPU resources in order to get better performance in the game you’re playing. The system works with game launchers from Bethesda, Blizzard, Origin (EA), Rockstar, and Uplay (Ubisoft), as well as the Epic Games Store and Steam. You’ll need a quad-core processor or better to benefit from the tech. Full-screen Detection and Notification Optimization These two features are bundled together to make sure you remain as uninterrupted as possible by the security suite. Full-screen Detection automatically spots that you’re running a full-screen app – like a game – and silences all but the most vital security alerts to ensure your gaming session isn’t disrupted (unless it absolutely must be). Notification Optimization also means that in general daily operation you’ll get fewer (non-critical) alerts from the suite. Norton 360 for Gamers can be installed on Windows PCs and Macs, as well as Android or Apple phones or tablets. But most of the gamer-focused features will only work on Windows and note that they won’t function with Windows 10 S Mode either, and some features require at least a quad-core CPU or better. Also note that the parental controls which come with the suite can’t be used with Macs, and not all features are available on mobile platforms. Some other capabilities are exclusive to Windows, including cloud backup and SafeCam. A Norton 360 for Gamers subscription is good for up to three devices (and that’s one difference between this suite and Norton 360 Deluxe, as the latter supports up to five devices). Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 systems are supported – and Windows 7 PCs are still compatible, even though the OS itself is now unsupported – and with a Mac, you need to be running macOS 10.14 Mojave or better. On mobile, Norton’s apps work with Android 6.0 or later, or iOS 12 or better. You'll see in our dedicated Norton antivirus review that we rate the software very well. And independent test labs think pretty highly of Norton’s antivirus engine in their more recent reports, so you can be assured of getting very robust protection from malware, which is of course the point of getting any antivirus product. This particular security suite is different from most, however, with its angle focusing on giving gamers extra functionality. Those additional features are certainly useful, aiming to ensure that gaming sessions aren’t interrupted, and even better, that the games you’re playing run better (in some cases). Note that we haven’t tested the Game Optimizer feature ourselves, but if it works as advertised, it’s a pretty impressive benefit. The trade-off to buying Norton 360 for Gamers is that while you get these extras – on Windows PCs only, remember – you lose out on device support compared to Norton 360 Deluxe, with only three devices covered, rather than five with the latter. Really, then, given that pricing is the same – although do note that on renewal, Norton 360 for Gamers is a whisker cheaper – the choice here is whether you want those gaming features, or whether support for an extra two devices might be more important (if you have a lot of hardware). Certainly, if you want to go the Norton route and do a lot of gaming, and are happy with coverage for three devices rather than five, Norton 360 for Gamers is rather a no-brainer, delivering a good security suite with some nifty functionality to help on the gaming front.
What is Norton 360 for Gamers and what does it do?
techradar.com

 

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0.6
The Best VPS Web Hosting Services for 2021
(0.02/4)

The many web hosts and their hosting tiers can make it difficult for you to find a Goldilocks plan that's just right. This sometimes happens when your website requires more power than what simple shared hosting delivers, but you don't want to go all-in on expensive dedicated hosting. The middle ground between the two is virtual private server (VPS) hosting. VPS hosting contains the best elements of shared hosting and dedicated hosting services. Like shared hosting, VPS hosting puts your website on a server that also has other sites running on it. The difference? There are fewer sites per server, and your website receives its own resource allotment (like dedicated hosting). The sites share the cost of running on the server, which results in a monthly or yearly charge that's less than dedicated hosting's relatively high price tag. How Much Does VPS Hosting Cost? As a result of VPS hosting's hybrid nature, its cost isn't quite as low as shared hosts' fees, but it's not nearly as high as dedicated hosts' fees. You can expect to pay between $20 per month and $100 per month, depending on the configuration. Shared web hosting, on the other hand, is extremely cheap hosting; you can often set up shop for less than $10 per month. Dedicated web hosting will typically set you back $100 per month or more. Most VPS hosts only offer servers running Linux-based operating systems; you'll need to dig a bit to find Windows-based VPS hosting. This is important to note if you're planning on running software that requires a Microsoft-compatible environment. That said, Linux-based VPS hosting will save you a few bucks; Linux servers usually cost $10 to $20 less than Windows servers. If you host it in a VPS environment, your site won't share resources with neighboring sites, the way it would with shared hosting. In fact, your site lives in a partitioned server area that has its own operating system, storage, RAM, and monthly data transfer limits, so you can expect smoother, more stable site performance. The sites with which you share your server are far less likely to affect your site—or even take it down altogether—than they would be on a shared site. Knowing how VPS setups operate is just the first step, however. You still need to familiarize yourself with the essential features needed for building a rock-solid, VPS-hosted website. The VPS Hosting Features You Need Once you register your website's domain name, it's time to start picking the specs for your server. Web hosts typically offer multiple VPS plans that have varying amounts of email capability, RAM, storage, CPU power, domain hosting, and monthly data transfers. The plans typically include website builders that let you quickly create a face for your site without much—or even any—coding required. A solid web host should offer at least 4GB of RAM,100GB of storage, and an ample volume of monthly data transfers. If you expect a significant amount of website growth, then you should look for a web host that has as many unlimited offerings as possible. For example, Hostwinds—the PCMag Editors' Choice for VPS hosting—offers unlimited email, domains, and monthly data transfers. Note, however, that as with all unlimited service offerings, you really need to read the fine print to make sure that what you mean by unlimited and what the hosting service means by it. Speaking of email and limits, you'll want the ability to create an unlimited number of accounts. Should your website grow significantly, you'll appreciate being able to scale your email accounts without spending additional money. Web hosts typically place a cap on the amount of storage per email account. In other words, you may be able to create an unlimited number of email accounts, but each one may have a 10GB storage cap. Take time to investigate a potential web host's email offerings so as not to be surprised by its messaging limitations. Again, find out what the unlimited gotchas might be. Typically, a web hosting service gives you the option of selecting either a traditional hard drive or a solid-state drive as your website's storage medium. Traditional hard drives have large capacities and lower prices, but they aren't quite as resilient as their SSD counterparts. Solid-state drives, on the other hand, are often faster and more reliable than HDDs, but they cost more and have smaller storage capacities. Unless you truly need blazing speed, a traditional hard drive should get the job done. Do you plan to sell products or services? If so, you'll want to invest in a web hosting service that offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). An SSL connection encrypts the financial information that shuttles between users' web browsers and your website, thus safeguarding the transmission of the purchasing information. Some hosting companies include a free SSL certificate when you sign up for a web hosting plan, while others charge close to $100. You can save some money by shopping around for services that offer the cheaper SSL plans. You'll also want to determine how long you'll need VPS web hosting. If you need hosting for a short time period—say, less than a month or two—you'll typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. These money-back guarantees vary from web host to web host. For example, Company X may offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, while Company Y may offer a lengthy 90-day money-back guarantee. As always, it's best to shop around for the features that best suit your web hosting needs. Uptime, Downtime All the features I've detailed to this point are valuable to the web hosting experience, but none matches the critical importance of site uptime. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. It doesn't matter how great the features are, or how good it looks; if your site is down, it might as well not exist. Recently, we've added more-formal uptime monitoring to our review process, and the results show that most web hosts do an excellent job of keeping sites up and running. Even if they get everything else right, sites with uptime problems aren't eligible for high scores. All services suffer ups and downs, sometimes for reasons beyond their control. Those sites that fail to address the problem in a timely manner are penalized accordingly. Do You Need VPS Hosting? If you want reasonably priced server space that won't load pages at a snail's pace when a neighboring site gets a huge traffic spike, VPS is a good option for your business. We've reviewed many VPS hosting services and included the best of the bunch in this guide. You should look into a dedicated server if you want to build a website on an even stronger foundation and can afford the bill. The chart above will give you a quick overview of the features included with each service, while the blurbs below link to full reviews that offer more in-depth looks. If you're just getting started in web hosting, make sure to check out our primer on how to create a website. If, on the other hand, you think you're ready to start your own web hosting company, you should check out our guide to reseller hosting. The Best Courses for Learning How to Build Websites offers terrific video instruction for people who prefer that style of learning.
The Best Web Hosting Services for 2021
uk.pcmag.com

 

 35 /152 

0.1
The relaxing, open-world puzzle design of
(0.02/4)

This interview is part of our Road to the IGF series. A Monster's Expedition, nominated for Excellence in Audio and Design in this year's IGF, helps monsters learn about humans as they explore an array of islands by completing log-pushing puzzles along the way. Gamasutra sat down with the team behind the game to discuss how the game's charming narrative slowly came together, the thoughts that go into creating interesting puzzles, and the careful crafting that went into maintaining the game's calming mood. deGrandis: I'm Adam deGrandis and I was the art director for A Monster's Expedition. I've been working in games since 2004. Over those years, I've worked on close to 80 titles, with about half of them actually shipping. Now I run a visual design and art production studio called Chickadee, which caters to the indie community. Hazelden: I'm Alan Hazelden and I was the creative director and lead puzzle designer for A Monster's Expedition. I started taking part in game jams in 2006 and made small/bad/funny games for a while, and since 2010 have been mostly focused on making puzzle games. In 2013 I quit my web development job to make video games full time. I expected I'd run out of savings in a year or two, but somehow that hasn't happened yet! Since then, I've released some well-received puzzle games like Sokobond, A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, Cosmic Express, and A Monster's Expedition, as well as several smaller free games mostly made in the excellent game-making tool PuzzleScript. Davis: I’m Benjamin Davis. I was the lead programmer for A Monster’s Expedition, but also worked in different areas, most notably co-designing the original prototype and animating all of the log and raft interactions. I released one commercially unsuccessful game on my own before teaming up with Alan for A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, Cosmic Express, and then A Monster’s Expedition. I’ve also been making terrible small games on-and-off as a hobby for over twenty years now, though these days I prefer to try new and different things during my spare time. Rainsberry: My name is Eli Rainsberry, and I'm a composer and sound artist. My role in developing A Monster's Expedition was designing audio, which involved collaborating with the team to establish initial ideas and concepts for its sound design and music system. I specifically worked with Alan to establish placements of music themes and establish direction on a number of sounds made, and with Ben to create sound hooks for every individual audio asset. As a result, we developed a dynamic system which takes inspiration from the pieces of music that play when you set foot on different islands. I've been making music and sounds for games over the last four to five years, with my first release for console being Wilmot's Warehouse. As well as A Monster's Exhibition, I've since worked on audio for Bird Alone, If Found..., and the upcoming game No Longer Home. I've come from a background of initially composing for short films and animations, as well as some interdisciplinary work, and found my way into games by getting myself more involved in the smaller communities of game makers and game-adjacent creatives. Warr: My name is Philippa Warr. I was the writer/narrative designer on A Monster's Expedition. I'd dabbled a little prior to A Monster's Expedition. For example, I edited the text for the deckbuilding roguelike Dicey Dungeons (and contributed a little to the writing in the process). Other than that, I've spent more than a decade as a critic and writer in the entertainment industry. McNulty: I’m Syrenne McNulty and I was the producer of the game, guiding it through the last year of development to release, and have been working on post-release patches and updates ever since! I worked on a few small titles of my own before realizing I was most comfortable with the production and release management side of things, so I started working with teams in a freelance capacity to do exactly that. I’m currently working on about a dozen releases, depending on how you count things, and am very happy. Davis: We had just released Cosmic Express and we wanted to pitch a new game for a competition. I really liked Alan’s island-themed PuzzleScript games (especially Skipping Stones to Lonely Homes) and wanted to make something similar. I started playing around with mechanics for cutting down trees and flipping them over, but it wasn’t really going anywhere. Alan took a look and came up with the idea that they should roll until they stop against something, and it turned out to be just the thing we needed. I came back to him with a dozen or so puzzles. We developed the rest of the mechanics together while Alan dove into his iterative process of level design and play testing. Davis: The original prototype was written in PuzzleScript, which is a very specialized tool for quickly making block-pushing puzzle games. Once we had a solid idea of the mechanics, I ported the logic to Unity and wrote an importer for the PuzzleScript level format while Alan continued designing levels. By the end of the project, we’d developed several in-engine tools for level design, arranging, testing and more. deGrandis: The art pipelines were pretty straightforward - Blender for 3d assets, Photoshop for 2d, and our shaders were authored in Amplify Shader Editor. Davis: There’s a specific feeling you get from exploring an adventure game. The nervous excitement from cresting a new hill to view the plateau below. The trepidation over what lies in the cave deep in the forest. The relief from reaching a village safe from the wilds. I don’t think we were very successful at instilling this, but for good reason. A Monster’s Expedition is first-and-foremost a puzzle game, so all the systems need to either work to remove friction from interacting with the puzzles or to provide rest. The camera is one area that severely constrained our ability to create surprises and add mystery. We very much need to provide a good overview of the puzzle at-hand, as well as make it easy to read the grid. This means no big forest obscuring your view until an opportune moment. No torchlit, third-person climb to the summit to watch the sunrise as the world opens up before you. Having said all that, the team did a great job of taking advantage of the open world. Multiple paths to take means that if you’re stuck on one puzzle, there’s usually another elsewhere that you can try instead. And that windmill over there? I bet you’d like to check that out. We were able to provide visual clues about which way to go, and use the exhibits as incentives to lead you down different paths. It took us a long time to abandon the pursuit of this “feeling of exploration” and really focus down on what the core experience should be. It turns out that sometimes you just need to get out of the player’s way, and then put in a reverse mermaid, and an emergency cheese sandwich, and a neat little collection of leach-powered technology. Warr: When the team came to talk to me about the project, their idea was that there would be some kind of collection of objects spread across the islands of the game. At the time, they were leaning towards all the objects being "lost" in some capacity, and the space being some kind of cosmic repository. Alan used the phrase "Museum at the End of Time" to refer to the collection, so I started to experiment with sets of themed object descriptions written as museum placards. I've done some museum work in the past, so it was handy to be able to draw on that. In case you're curious, the placards were initially a lot more detailed, with fields for dates, materials, catalogue numbers, locations etc. Those were really interesting places to hide jokes, but ultimately we cut them down for ease of presentation. The descriptions of the objects were always a bit weird because I was always imagining that the curator (whoever we settled on) would be missing vital context. The team really liked that humour, so I used the unreliable narrator/curator as a starting point for exploring ideas. Narrowing down what kind of museum we should have, and who the player character would be, was a far longer process! A lot of work had already been done on building the game and making assets, so I needed to create a narrative that felt right AND wasn't in conflict with existing elements. I remember a very energetic conversation about whether we could (or should) use a staff room as a save point! We even considered getting rid of the museum idea entirely at one juncture and I drafted a whole other narrative plan, just in case. Ultimately, everything felt like it was really falling into place when the monsters became the main inhabitants of this universe. You might remember the monster character from one of the older Draknek games: A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build. They're basically a black gumdrop with legs, and they're adorable, just exploring the game's world and gently engaging with everything they encounter. Putting them in A Monster's Expedition immediately gelled with the sense of childlike interest I wanted, both in terms of how the player explored the environment through them, and in terms of how they might describe human artifacts. Hazelden: The world of the game took a long time to come together. For a long time, we were trying to make something with more of a story/narrative - something that might feel like a quest where you’re traveling through strange lands and meeting strange characters. We went through a lot of ideas that didn’t end up fitting the game; we started over probably half a dozen times over the course of development. The “place of lost things” Pip refers to was an idea from our former narrative designer Hannah Nicklin that, at the time, didn’t get much further than being an evocative phrase, but the final time we came to tear up the narrative and build something new, it mutated into the idea of a museum which turned out to be a great fit for the game. Hazelden: Generally, the starting point is choosing a single interaction, or chain of interactions, that I want you to have to do as part of the solution - something that I think is an interesting consequence of the mechanics. For the memorable puzzle just before the windmill, what this meant is that I needed to design a puzzle which A) forces you to form a raft in a specific spot, B) makes you think you have to leave by getting a log to a particular place, C) makes you realise that the only way to get that log there would be to push it upwards from the raft, and then D) surprises you. After establishing what I’m trying to make, it’s often fairly quick to make a first draft of the level; I’ll just place the gameplay elements in such a way that works for the solution in my head. Then, there’s an iteration process where I play the level and try to find what else I can do that’s not that - if it’s possible to bypass the intended solution then I’ll iterate to prevent that being possible, but by blocking the unexpected solution I might accidentally make the level impossible, and then resolving that might cause another problem - essentially it’s a game of whack a mole. A single puzzle can take anywhere from a few minutes to many hours to iterate on until I find a version I’m happy with (for some puzzles, many hours across many years). Along the way, I’ll often have made several levels with different versions of the idea, and also several levels where an unintended solution I found was interesting enough in its own right to be made into its own puzzle. In that way, I might start with one specific interaction in mind at the start of a design session and get a dozen or more puzzles out of it - but then of those we’ll only use the one or two most interesting versions (Or sometimes they’ll all get cut - there’s only so much space in the museum!). This sounds like a lot of work, but in some ways this was actually the easy part! Because of the open world nature of the game, where solving a puzzle on one island gives you access to another island with a different puzzle, the position of islands relative to one another is very important. Putting two puzzles too close together might break them or be misleading about where you’re trying to go, and some puzzles aren’t isolated to a single island. So, making a single change to fix one small problem on one island can ripple across a whole area. It’s maybe the hardest jigsaw puzzle in the world, but tremendously satisfying when an archipelago comes together. deGrandis: For me, it was twofold. Eli's work on the sound charted a path in a lot of ways. Even in its earlier forms, it was supremely soothing and just filled the play space with this calming vibe. All I had to do was play along with it. I also live right near the coast, and as I tried to match Eli's work, I found myself thinking about the environment that surrounds me. Water that slowly ebbs and flows on the shore, grass that sways in the breeze, shadows from clouds on the wide open salt water marsh by my house. That's all on-screen. Beyond that, I have a fair amount of experience designing broadly approachable art styles. Bright, welcoming color palettes and squishy, round forms both made the game ultra readable and reinforced the idea that this wasn't something you needed to get frustrated with. Warr: I really wanted the text to feel like a reward system. When the player solves a puzzle they get a story or a joke as a reward, or as an opportunity to take a breather. Keeping them short and easy to digest was important. They mustn't feel like work. And I wanted there to be a light touch in terms of the connections between objects. There are a few which interlink, or which hint at broader events in the human timeline (particularly with regard to leeches), but I wanted them all to work as standalone microfiction - no memory of previous objects required! The main unifying force that I wanted the player to be aware of is the monster curators' tone. The biggest challenge in all of that was when a joke wasn't quite working. If an object obviously disrupted the tone, or was falling really flat, it was an easy decision to cut it or to try a new approach. The ones which felt like they were almost there but not quite were the ones I would bash my head against for days! Was it the wording? Was it the concept? Was it a fundamentally flawed joke hiding under okay text? It was so lovely to watch streamers playing the game and enjoying those objects because it meant they had got to the right place in the end. They weren't thinking about all of my teeth-gnashing and pacing and the times I appeared in team chat to say "Is granite funny? I find it funny. Is it funny?" Another element that really helps with the sense of calm is the popcorn and coffee stands, and the way the monster sits down and dangles their legs if you walk to the edge of an island. Adam's art and animations are so lovely in those moments, as is Eli's music. The leg dangling in particular gives you a real moment of quiet which you can trigger whenever you need. When we were still nailing those interactable moments down, I remember trying to convince Adam that the monster should be able to sit in a little natural hot spring on an island as a reward for solving particularly tricky problems - sorry Adam (We went with the far more reasonable solution of snowfolk for those puzzles in the end!)! Rainsberry: So, the main challenge we had for developing the score's soundscape was making sure we weren't making it an overwhelming experience that included, but wasn't limited to, keeping the sound design and foley straightforward and simplistic; they were all sourced and recorded to capture more accurate representations of the player's actions, the environment, and the exhibits themselves. Also, being selective with where we would like things to play out more dynamically. Very early into developing the score, I wanted to have some quieter, delay effected guitars that'd occasionally play when there's more of an empty space in the music, but having dropped that option, I feel like it actually allowed more breathing room for whoever's playing to think more about their progression. I think having different spaces that you can go to, such as the sides of the islands, or the benches, and having almost an entirely different feel of music through their piano, small ensemble-based interludes, has been a really nice way of being able to maintain the sense of calm, at least for me. Rainsberry: I kind of knew already, going into composing and arranging music for the game, that I'd want to bring in the right levels of subtleties that'd be appreciated on its own, but at the same time, not taking away attention to the puzzles that you're completing over the course of the game. I initially wanted to go in a direction similar to how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's score was minimal and atmospheric in places that would make one focus on that kind of space. The music was also inspired by artists outside of games, such as Geotic, Angel Olsen, and Hiromi, where the pieces were arranged in a way that was either a mix of indie and alternative, or ambient, or jazz. As production progressed, we found a decent balance with arranging appropriate instrumentations that kept fairly minimal, yet effective. The palette of the score included, but were not limited to, different types of guitars, pianos and synths, as well as some subtle drums that carried the ensemble. We wanted to have a pleasant dynamic experience when you travel between islands and interact with the environment around you. We ultimately went for the following: having the palette of the guitars change as you progress through the game. Entering later islands evolved an acoustic guitar into an electric guitar. Both guitars, including a piano, shape the music that plays dynamically as the player cuts down, rolls, and pushes a tree, amongst other actions. The notes that are used to compose these certain melodies or harmonics, and their variations, are either taken from, or were inspired, by riffs that were played in the pieces that are being referenced by the tonal ambience at the time. And the tonal ambiences themselves were created from reverberated versions of the pieces that play when you enter a new area of the game. Sections from the score are divided into segments, which were then set up so that when you move between islands, a parameter triggers moving from one segment to the other. They were also implemented in a way that lets the sections grow in texture as a subtle way of indicating both movement and progression. This allowed the tonal ambiences that come from it to continue shifting without distracting the player from the main puzzles. Finally, variants of melodies and chords from the pieces are taken to make up the remainder of the dynamic audio system, and were selected and arranged carefully to be reactionary to your actions and achievements. Some have different variants depending on whether a log is connected to an island or not, but we mostly prioritized being able to enjoy pushing or rolling a log to the music in a satisfying manner. I think this can overall tie into the game's curiosity a little and how some of the melodies and harmonies you hear could, in fact, be a tool for encouraging gentle progression. McNulty: We really wanted players to be able to feel like they could explore the world at their pace. The way that the music is calming, and even quiets down as you pause to think about a tricky puzzle, really lends itself to a sort of “puzzle-solving meditation” style of play - especially since the game can lend itself to short play sessions! Starting with a very early moment in the game, the game also tries to consistently evoke reactions such as “a-ha!” and “oh, I can do this?” It was important to the design of the game that the player never “unlocks” new abilities. The player can do everything in the game at the beginning, even if they don’t know it yet, which of course can allow the player to revisit the very beginning and see things they never noticed before. This game, an IGF 2021 honoree, is featured as part of the Independent Games Festival ceremony. You can watch the ceremony starting at 4:30PM PT (7:30 ET) Wednesday, July 21 at GDC 2021.
The relaxing, open-world puzzle design of
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Augmenting Organizational Agility Through Learnability Quotient (LQ) - an Architect’s Perspective
(0.02/4)

A round-up of last week’s content on InfoQ sent out every Tuesday. Join a community of over 250,000 senior developers. View an example We protect your privacy. A round-up of last week’s content on InfoQ sent out every Tuesday. Join a community of over 250,000 senior developers. View an example We protect your privacy.
What We Learned for DevOps during Covid-19
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0.2
Microsoft Teams: Those who dial will soon be able to raise their hands

It is not uncommon to have attendees calling in to a Microsoft Teams meeting via the regular telephone network, but those users are disadvantaged in many ways, not least because they are not able to share video. Microsoft is however looking to address at least one issue – the inability to raise your hand and indicate you wish to raise a point. Microsoft has announced that PSTN participants who wish to request to speak by raising their hand in a meeting can now do this via a new dial-pad command ( press *5). Microsoft is also enabling Presenters and Organizers to prevent public switched telephone network (PSTN) participants from unmuting. This means users that make use of the features to manage attendee audio can now use these same audio management controls on users that dial in. Support will begin rolling out to Standard and GCC users in mid-July and complete in late July. GCC-H and DoD users will get support starting in late July.

 

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0.4
Tor Browser 10.5 is here... and it kills off support for older Onion services

Web users' interest in privacy and security has gradually increased over the years, and demand for secure, anonymity-offering browsers like Tor is also on the up. Now a new version of Tor Browser is upon us, introducing various protection methods. Perhaps most apparent in Tor Browser 10.5 is the improved experience of connecting to Tor. While the Tor Network has undeniably rocketed in popularity, there are still plenty of people who like the idea of the security and privacy it offers, but feel uncomfortable with getting started. In particular, this latest version of the browser makes life easier for people forced to use censored connections. Whether because of the country they live in, or because they have been targeted for some reason, people who connect to the internet through censored connection are unable to access many things other web users take for granted. With the UX and the Anti-Censorship teams having worked together, Tor Browser 10.5 makes life easier by detecting censorship, providing bridges and simplifying the whole connection process. Also related to helping people using censored internet connections, Tor Browser 10.5 sees the arrival of support for Snowflake as a bridge. This means that censored users can rely on proxies run by volunteers to connect to the internet. This month also sees the deprecation of version 2 Onion sites, and Tor Browser 10.5 now includes a warning when visiting such sites. Soon it will not be possible to visit sites unless they have been upgraded to version 3. Although the warning itself is not something that users can do anything about, it may prompt reminders from site visitors to administrators, hence avoiding sites going offline.

 

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Yes, you can pet the Monsties in Monster Hunter Stories 2

Some lucky people already have their hands on Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Amongst them is a hero that’s letting players know they can pet their beloved Monsties in the game. The Monster Hunter Stories 2 petting mechanic isn’t just adorable, though — it also serves an important gameplay function. Image: u/Numen06 via Reddit Here’s how to pet Monsties in Monster Hunter Stories 2: Players that take time out of their adventure to pet Monsties will receive some tangible rewards, in addition to a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Monstie petting recovers their health slightly, plus deepens the user’s Kinship stat. Increasing the Kinship level lets players utilize increasingly rare and powerful Monsties, a complete list of which can be found here. Monsties are kind of like the series’ eponymous monsters, only hunters can bond with them. There’s still plenty of monster hunting on the agenda in Wings of Ruin, however. The sequel follows a familiar formula — hunt monsters, loot their spoils, craft better gear, repeat — only with turn-based combat and a larger narrative focus than its mainline franchise counterparts. There are more details on how the Stories spin-offs differ from the main Monster Hunter titles in this explainer. MH Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a Nintendo Switch and PC game, whereas the original is exclusive to the 3DS. That doesn’t make it particularly accessible right now, though, thankfully, players don’t need to have played the original to understand its sequel. Get all the relevant info by clicking here. In other news, the Nintendo Switch OLED is coming this October. It features a bigger and brighter OLED screen, though not quite as large as the Xbox Series S xScreen add-on.

 

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The best soundbars for TV shows, movies and music in 2021

Choosing the best soundbar for you can be tricky, whether you want to build your dream home theater system, or you want a more reliable audio source to accompany your TV with great sound and an affordable price. Generally speaking, soundbars are must-have devices to accompany today’s modern TVs. That’s because as the newest and best TVs get slimmer and slimmer, there’s less room for built-in speakers. That means they might look fantastic but you’ll need another way to do the advanced screen tech justice. Comb through the specs of any of the top TVs you can buy right now and you’ll see the audio probably won't be up to scratch. In our opinion, even the best Samsung TV could use an external soundbar to upgrade its audio performance from fair to great. That’s why we’ve created this guide to the best soundbars you can buy right now, selecting the top soundbar devices on the market for every budget, home, and setup. That’s because we don’t want you to spend a fortune on a new TV display only for the audio to fall short as soon as you’ve got it all set-up. Or pick a new soundbar that looks good but doesn’t deliver the quality you’re looking for. In the list below you’ll find our pick of the best soundbars in 2021, from those that boast Dolby Atmos through to ultra-affordable plug-in-and-go models. Sonos latest surround sound solution is contained entirely in a single soundbar it calls Arc. While we’re not sure if the device gets its name from the HDMI interface it uses, the curved sound it pitches or the fact that it is perhaps, metaphorically, a vessel delivering impressive surround sound to the modern minimalist home, this system is hell-bent on short circuiting the surround sound game. The Sonos Arc draws on Dolby’s latest TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus sound codecs to deliver the best quality lossless audio found on cutting edge Blu-ray disks and some of the leading streaming services. It then enhances the 3D soundscape using Dolby Atmos object tracks to bounce certain sounds off the walls around you so they feel like they’re coming at you from all angles. While all this might sound complicated, the Sonos Arc setup couldn’t be simpler, involving just a couple of steps on the smartphone app. The minimalist cable connections and all-in-one system construction add to this no-fuss feeling and streamlined aesthetic – making it the best soundbar you can buy in 2021. Read more: Sonos Arc review The Q950T sees Samsung retain its place at the top of the 3D audio soundbar league, beaten only by the Sonos Arc. It combines Samsung’s customary fearsome power with enhanced precision and dynamism by providing 14 separate channels of sound. Plus, its slimmer shape will see it fit under a wider range of TVs too. The 9.1.4 system is pretty remarkable for a soundbar, and is clearly tailor-made for the object-based sound delights of today’s Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio formats. Audio streaming is supported over both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which includes Hi-Res Audio file formats, and even lets you connect with certain phones just by tapping them against the soundbar’s bodywork. Physical connectivity is fair for a premium soundbar, comprising two HDMI inputs, one HDMI output (with eARC support for obtaining lossless Dolby Atmos / DTS:X soundtracks from compatible TVs) and an optical digital audio input. Read more: Samsung HW-Q950T review The Samsung HW-Q90R was the brand's all-singing, all-dancing flagship soundbar for 2019 – and in 2021, it has only just been pipped by the newer Q950T. It not only supports object-based audio in the shape of both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, it’s also the only soundbar from 2019 to achieve this with actual rear speakers and four upward-firing drivers. Few soundbars come so close to producing the full Dolby Atmos and DTS:X experience, and thanks to tuning from Harman Kardon the HW-Q90 even sounds good with music. A decent set of features and fully-specified HDMI connections complete a nearly flawless package... as long as you can afford it, this is one of the best soundbars you can buy. Read more: Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar review Given that rival Dolby Atmos-compatible soundbars typically sell for twice the price, Sony’s HT-X8500 warrants an easy recommendation – and it's the best soundbar with Dolby Atmos that won't break the bank. Cost-cutting can be attributed to connectivity and features but what’s genuinely confounding is just how great the HT-X8500 sounds. The key to the HT-X8500’s gutsy performance is Sony’s proprietary Vertical Sound Engine - working with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content, it creates a convincing illusion of wraparound sound that allow Dolby Atmos movies to play with a clear sense of expanded height and width. The build quality and design of the soundbar is exceptional, and its general audio performance impresses with its clarity and spatial presentation. Overall, if you want a home theatre sound system that won’t dent your budget, this is the best soundbar for you. Read more: Sony HT-X8500 Soundbar review [Update: Sony has released the follow up to the HT-X8500; the Sony HT-G700 comes with virtual Dolby Atmos and a dedicated center speaker to enhance dialogue.] The Q800A is an impressive refinement on its 2020 predecessor, delivering improvements in two key areas. Firstly, if you’re able to combine it with the sound optimization features of the new Q70A or higher 2021 Samsung TVs, the improvements in audio performance prove unexpectedly worthwhile. For its second big improvement over last year’s Q800T, Samsung's added up-firing height channel drivers to the Q800A's optional extra rear speakers, providing a more satisfying and convincing Dolby Atmos sound experience. That said, the Q800A is good enough on its own that we suspect most people who buy it won’t feel any great compulsion to add the rears. Read more: Samsung HW-Q800A review Without any doubt about it, the LG SN11RG was the company’s flagship soundbar last year. In fact, it’s much more than just a soundbar, in that it ships with both a substantial external subwoofer and a pair of heavy duty rear speakers. With its 7.1.4-channel configuration, it's a complete audio arsenal. The SN11RG also carries true up-firing rear and front drivers to deliver the height effects of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, and sees LG continuing its so-far impressive collaboration with high-end British AV brand, Meridian. The main soundbar boasts an attractive, practical design and supports eARC with Dolby Vision. Plus, it has an AI Sound Pro processor that can convert pretty much any incoming sound format – even vanilla stereo – into a full multi-channel output that although not perfect, sounds spectacular. Read more: LG SN11RG Soundbar review Sennheiser is best known for its range of headphones and professional microphones, but it recently extended its ambitions to home audio as well, with the introduction of its new Ambeo Soundbar. The bulky soundbar is packed with the latest audio technologies, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for surround sound audio, as well as Sennheiser’s own Ambeo ‘virtual 3D’ sound system. Sennheiser clearly has its sights set on the home cinema market with the Ambeo, although the bar's Wi-Fi connectivity means that it can double up as a pretty impressive music system as well. It’s not perfect – Sennheiser’s reliance on Google Home to provide Wi-Fi streaming seems like an odd choice – but the sheer sound quality of the Ambeo Soundbar ensures that it justifies its wallet-breaking price tag. Read more: Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar review The Sonos Beam is a fantastic soundbar for its price, one that takes full advantage of the Sonos ecosystem and is a joy to use (and set up, if your television has HDMI ARC). Its smaller form factor means it’s a device that will sit comfortably next to a 32-inch TV but it’s got enough of a footprint to not be dwarfed by a much bigger set. The Sonos Beam doesn’t offer earth-shattering bass and the lack of Dolby Atmos support will irk some, but at this price point it'd be more of a surprise if it had been included. The voice control may be Alexa-only for now, but it works well and if you have adopted some of Amazon’s TV toys, it really is worth experimenting with. Read more: Sonos Beam review The Denon HEOS Bar has been renamed – meet the Denon S716H. The name change is designed to reflect HEOS's status as a multi-room software solution used by multiple brands, and aside from a small retune, the soundbar itself is unchanged. With its nine drivers are arranged in trios for left, center and right channels and a virtual surround mode to create the illusion of having more speakers around the room, the Denon S716H is pretty much whatever you want it to be. Blessed with such a balanced soundscape, this soundbar proved immediately adept with music, and has a consistently warm yet refined sound quality that's all its own. The fact that it lacks the opportunity to tweak the audio settings is not as important as we had feared. Music sounds superb, especially lossless tunes, from which the Denon S716H drags out a lot of detail. However, we did notice on a couple of occasions that the first half-a-second was cut-off songs. Read more: Denon S716H review The key feature of the SB362An-F6 – also referred to more helpfully as the “36-inch 2.1 Sound Bar” on most retailer's websites – is really its sheer value for money, costing just £149 in the UK and an even more competitive $139 in the US, where it was launched at the end of last year. Despite the bargain-basement price, the SB362An-F6 is neatly designed, measuring 36 inches wide, and a streamlined 2 inches high, and 5.2 inches deep (914xx52x133mm). This soundbar will sit comfortably underneath the screen of most TVs, and Vizio also includes a pair of wall-mount brackets as well. The SB362An-F6 isn’t perfect, but its dramatic and imposing sound provides a real audio upgrade for your television’s built-in speakers. The Virtual:X technology works well too, helping to create a more immersive atmosphere while you’re watching. And while it might be missing a few bells and whistles, there’s no doubt that the SB362An-F6 provides excellent value for money. Read more: Vizio SB362An-F6 review The Vizio SB362An-F6 is currently sold out in the UK – if you're looking for an alternative, check out the Sony HT-X8500. The LG SK8 sits elegantly and compactly beneath your TV, and delivers a clean, detailed and open sound. Although you have to treat the LG SK8’s Dolby Atmos claims with something of a pinch of salt due to its lack of ‘real’ sound channels and a slightly reticent subwoofer, it still has plenty to offer for its money. It supports lots of sources, it looks attractive, it sounds more powerful than it looks, and it’s just as adept with music as it is with movies. An on-soundbar display and Google Assistant compatibility make it easy to use, too. Read more: LG SK8 Soundbar review If $300 is your budget cap for a smart soundbar, then we highly recommend the Polk Audio Command Bar for any small or medium-sized living room. As you might be able to tell based on the soundbar’s design, the Command Bar comes with Alexa built right into it making it unquestionably smart. It’s also relatively inexpensive too, coming in at $250 (£249 / AU$649), and it comes with a subwoofer. It has defined and powerful low end, some cool smart features, and looks pretty good, too. Read more: Polk Audio Command Bar review If you love the slim aesthetic of your new 4K TV, we can bet it doesn’t have the audio needed to match the visuals. That means picking the best soundbar to go with your TV is your best option to get the most out of your favorite TV shows and films. The best soundbars of 2021 are built to be just as pleasing to the eye as they are to the ear. Most of them are sleek, minimal and designed to sit flush against a wall or home cinema set-up. They're also a good solution for smaller homes and rooms with little space that wouldn't be able to squeeze a 7.1 channel speaker system in. The majority of the soundbars on this list are made to sit in front of your screen, but they can also be wall-mounted above or to the side of it as well, depending on how your room is laid out. This provides you with ultimate choice as to how your home entertainment set-up looks. Despite most of the soundbars on this list only featuring front-facing speakers, many are able to confidently project sound in a way that makes it seem as though there's booming audio coming from every direction. Are soundbars worth it? Absolutely. Even if you don't consider yourself a hardcore cinephile, the best soundbars make a world of difference to your TV watching experience – built-in TV speakers just don't do your favorite films, TV shows, and games justice. How much should I spend on a soundbar? It really depends on what you're looking for. If you want the very best soundbar technology has to offer, you might be looking at prices of $800 / £800 / AU$1,000 and upwards. However, there are lots of fantastic budget soundbars on the market, with some costing less than $100 / £100 / AU$150. Just bear in mind that you generally get what you pay for, and these budget models probably won't come with premium features like Dolby Atmos, included rear speakers, and hi-res audio support. What is the best cheap soundbar? The Sony HT-X8500 is a high-quality soundbar that delivers excellent sound at an affordable price – and by affordable we mean below $300 / £300. There are cheaper options, though, especially if you're looking for a small soundbar for your computer. Check out the Razer Leviathan if you need a decent budget gaming soundbar. Where should I put a soundbar? You generally have two options when it comes to soundbar placement: wall-mounting it, or placing in below your TV on your TV cabinet. If your soundbar is quite tall, wall-mounting may be the best option, as it could obscure the IR receiver on your TV, rendering your remote control useless. Many new soundbars are released every week and plenty have innovative designs and high-spec features. Some of the newest soundbars we’ve had our eye on recently include the Cowin Soundbar, which is a modular soundbar that you can break in half to make two floor standing speakers. On the subject of soundbars that come with more options than we're used to, we like the look of the LG QP5 Éclair, which comes in at just 11.7 inches by 2.3 inches (W x H), making it an ideal choice if you're short on space. If you're on the lookout for affordable audio tech, JBL has announced its latest soundbar, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam, as the latest addition to its popular Bar series. On the opposite end of the price spectrum, Samsung has announced a number of new high-spec Q-Series soundbars for 2021, including the 11.1.4-channel HW-Q950A, which comes with Dolby Atmos support and some seriously innovative rear speakers. Polk Audio also announced the Polk React, which the company claims is the world's most advanced Alexa soundbar. Support for Alexa's Communication features means you can even sync your contacts from the Alexa app and use voice commands to call them at no extra cost. Most recently, American audio company Klipsch has announced two new soundbars coming to its premium Cinema range. Both the Cinema 1200 and Cinema 800 will arrive with Dolby Atmos out of the box, offering rich, room-filling audio that could complete your home theater setup.

 

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0.3
Ransomware gangs get more professional

Ransomware, and indeed malware generally, used to be something of a cottage industry, the preserve of individuals or small groups. But new research from threat intelligence company KELA shows that it's becoming a highly professionalized industry. Many cybercriminals are now specializing in different areas, so that the coding, spreading, extracting and monetizing processes might all be carried out by different people. "As ransomware operations have been growing and maturing, KELA's researchers have been observing more cybercriminals offering accompanying services that fall into one of the four niches," writes Victoria Kivilevich, threat intelligence analyst, on the KELA blog. "When looking specifically into the ransomware supply chain we can see many actors piling up in the 'extract' niche -- where actors focus on escalating privileges within a compromised network -- and the 'monetize' niche - where actors are involved in the negotiation process with victims, DDoS attacks and spam calls. In this post, KELA focuses on these two niches in order to better understand the actors who have surfaced around the growing RaaS ecosystem." Other interesting findings include that only 19 percent of dark web listings for ransomware services offer domain admin access rights, which raises the demand for intrusion specialists capable of escalating privileges. The research has also uncovered the rise of a new role, that of 'negotiator' whose job is to force the victim to pay a ransom using a combination of insider information and threats. There's demand too for skills in things like DDoS attacks and spam campaigns as additional ways to threaten victims. In order to fend off these threats defenders need to be equally professional. This means investing in cybersecurity awareness training, ensuring regular vulnerability monitoring and timely patching, and monitoring of key assets -- ideally using automation -- to reduce the attack surface. You can find out more on the KELA blog. Image credit: cristovao / depositphotos.com

 

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0.6
Kickstarter campaign started for Xbox Series S integrated folding screen

The Xbox Series S is the cheapest entry to the new generation. While not packing the 4K punch found in PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, it still runs the same games, although often in a lower resolution. As some people has noticed, it is also very small (the smallest Xbox ever), and thus perfect as a travel companion. But you still need a TV. And that problem is now seemingly about to be solved with a Kickstarter peripheral called the xScreen. It is basically a 1080p/60Hz folding screen (with speakers) that is easily and firmly attached to your Xbox Series S with a form that almost resembles a laptop. This way, you can just flip up the screen to play on hotels, trains, cruises, cabins or wherever you have electricity. If you think this sounds like something for you, head over to Kickstarter to read more or make a pledge. For AUS $289 (roughly £156 / €183) you will get one, as it has already reached the goal, with a planned delivery early next year. You must be logged in to comment. If you are not yet a member - join now! Loading next content Gamereactor uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best browsing experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy with our cookies policy

 

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0.8
IBM acquires container services provider BoxBoat

IBM today announced that it has acquired BoxBoat Technologies, a Bethesda, Maryland-based DevOps consultancy and enterprise Kubernetes service provider. The move, which comes the same week former Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst stepped down as president at IBM, will extend IBM’s container and data portfolio to advance the company’s hybrid cloud practice, IBM SVP John Granger said in a statement. “Our clients require a cloud architecture that allows them to operate across a traditional IT environment, private cloud, and public clouds. That’s at the heart of our hybrid cloud approach,” Granger said. “No cloud modernization project can succeed without a containerization strategy, and BoxBoat is at the forefront of container services innovation.” Founded in 2016, BoxBoat helps clients establish containers and Kubernetes — an orchestration system for app deployment — as enablers for hybrid cloud solutions. The startup delivers services including strategies for Kubernetes and enterprise container adoption, as well as app containerization, DevSecOps, training, enablement, and guides on DevOps tooling and workflows. BoxBoat’s customers span the Fortune 100 and government agencies, and the company counts among its partners Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. It also has the distinction of being the first certified professional services partner with GitLab, according to BoxBoat CEO Tim Hohman. Hohman says that BoxBoat will join IBM Global Business Services’ (GBS) Hybrid Cloud Services division. The transaction is expected to close this fiscal quarter, subject to customary closing conditions. “We founded BoxBoat on the idea that containers and DevOps would become an industry standard with the potential to transform enterprise IT with lightning fast application deployment workflows,” Hohman said in a press release. “Joining IBM will allow us to realize a shared vision of helping clients innovate by successfully deploying container-based applications on-premises and to the cloud.” Containers and Kubernetes are two of the leading drivers of enterprise digital transformation. By 2025, it’s anticipated that more than 85% of global organizations will be running containerized apps in production, a significant increase from fewer than 35% in 2019. At the same time, Kubernetes is becoming the preferred way to build digital services. StackRox found that 91% of organizations are leveraging Kubernetes to orchestrate containers, while 75% of organizations are actively using Kubernetes in production. Since Arvind Krishna took over as IBM chairman last year, he’s spearheaded a remaking of the company, focusing on revenue growth and investing in cloud and AI technologies. Over the past five quarters, IBM spent over $1.7 billion on 11 acquisitions — a strategy that’s paid dividends. For every dollar of platform spend, clients spend $3 to $5 in software and $6 to $8 in services, according to IBM. IBM’s GBS is a profitable enterprise, with approximately $6 billion revenue in the cloud consulting services market in 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, GBS doubled the number of Red Hat client engagements from the prior year to over 150. And to date, IBM says it’s signed $2 billion of business from its Red Hat practice. The BoxBoat purchase caps off a wave of IBM IT service deals dating back to 2020. In April, IBM bought Taos, a provider of managed and professional IT services with a focus on public cloud computing platforms. And late last year, IBM snatched up three IT service providers, including Nordcloud, a platform for cloud computing services expertise. The global public cloud computing market is set to exceed $362 billion in 2022, according to Statista. IDG reports that the average cloud budget is up from $1.62 million in 2016 to a whopping $2.2 million today. Coinciding with this, the app container market is anticipated to reach $8.5 billion in 2025, up from $950 million in 2018. Business leaders across the C-suite indeed see the cloud ‘s role in helping to achieve their company’s revenue growth ambitions. But few organizations are positioned for the cloud to fully deliver on its promise, highlighting the need for consultancies. According to research firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), more than half (53%) of companies aren’t realizing substantial value from cloud investments. That’s despite the fact that 56% view the cloud as a platform for innovation and expansion. “Without question, we find ourselves in the midst of an accelerated cloud sea-change on the heels of a pandemic, which brought a new awareness that any position of strength can be fragile, and organizations that operate with a greater degree of resiliency and agility can thrive in the future. Our recently conducted [survey] confirmed this,” PwC U. S. deputy advisory leader Jenny Koehler told VentureBeat in a recent interview. “Some of the greatest areas of promise include improved resiliency and agility, improved decision making given enhanced data and analytical capabilities, and the ability to innovate products and services. Despite this widespread adoption, however, there is a substantial value gap that persists.”

 

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0.5
TicWatch E3 review

The TicWatch E3 is the newest smartwatch from tech company Mobvoi. It’s a follow up to the TicWatch E2, which we awarded four out of five stars when we reviewed it back in 2019, and a more affordable alternative to the TicWatch Pro 3. This is a no-frills smartwatch in comparison to its Pro 3 big brother, but what makes this smartwatch special is it still has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip as the Pro model. This means its performance is faster and smoother than its predecessors – not to mention many of its Wear OS competitors. Mobvoi is following in the footsteps of other brands like Fitbit and Apple by bringing out a device with all the workout tracking basics you’d expect, as well as a bunch of health and wellness features in the form of Tic-branded apps. For example, there’s TicOxygen to track your blood oxygen levels, TicBreath for guided breathing, TicPulse for heart rate, TicZen for stress, and more. It packs in many smartwatch features thanks to Wear OS, like notifications, Google Assistant and Google Pay. These are all easy to navigate thanks to a 1.3-inch display – it’s just a shame it’s LCD, not OLED. Design-wise the E3 is light and comfortable to wear. Its minimal look goes with everything, but you might find it a bit bland. There’s been a big question mark as to whether the E3 is one of many Google Wear OS smartwatches that might not be in line to get the upcoming Wear OS 3.0 update – expected in late 2021 – with no official confirmation. However, Wareable reports that both the TicWatch Pro 3 and TicWatch E3 will now receive the Wear OS 3.0 update. This is a relief to anyone interested in the E3 – without it, the E3 might have got very old very fast. The TicWatch E3 was released globally in June 2021 and is available for $199.99 / £179.99 / AU$259.99. This price makes it a little more expensive than the TicWatch E2, which cost $159.99 / £145.99 / AU$238.99 at launch and more affordable than Mobvoi’s current flagship smartwatch, the TicWatch Pro 3 $299 / £279 / AU$449. It’s also a cheaper option by general smartwatch standards. For comparison, the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is a similar feature-packed wearable running on Wear OS, and at £279 / $295 / AU$499, it’s a whole $100 / £100 more expensive than the E3. As is the Fitbit Sense, which has the same focus on fitness, health and wellness, and comes in at $329 / £299 / AU$499.95. The TicWatch E3 has a 1.3-inch 360 X 360 pixel display. That’s a good size to make the most of its features, but it isn’t perfect. We didn’t like the large bezel (the border between the frame and the screen), which felt like a waste of valuable space. It’s also a shame it’s LCD and not OLED. That’s not to say OLED is always better ( it’s more complicated than that), but it does make blacks look blacker, and there’s better color contrast than on an LCD, too – which is why most of the best smartwatches opt for OLED. There’s no automatic brightness sensor on board, which is irritating if you go from a dark room indoors to a bright sunny run outside. But it only takes a few taps to push the brightness up to the fullest setting, which we didn’t have a problem with in the sun. The casing is quite big at 44mm in diameter and 12.6mm thick, which means it might feel bulky at first – especially on smaller wrists. However, we found it wasn’t long before we got used to the chunky design, which is similar to many smartwatches these days. The watch has a polycarbonate frame with plastic casing underneath. Both of these materials feel a little cheap compared to other smartwatches with a metal body. But it does mean it’s super lightweight at only 32g – if you care more about comfort than style, you won’t have a problem. There’s no rotating crown here, but there are two buttons on the side. The top one turns the display on, opening up the app menu and taking you back to the homescreen. A long press activates Google Assistant and a quick double press cranks up the brightness. The bottom brings up the TicExercise app, but you can program it to do something else if fitness isn’t a top priority. Whether you think the TicWatch E3 looks good or not is subjective. We were torn, liking the clean lines and minimal design but also finding it boring compared to other devices. There are ways around this with customizable watch faces – there are, literally, thousands to download from the Google Play store – and a quick-release silicone rubber strap, which allows you to switch it out for any other 22mm strap. We tested the watch in Panther Black, but there are blue and yellow strap versions on the way soon. Although it’s lightweight, it feels durable. Importantly, though, there’s no Gorilla Glass here, which means you might get some scratches on the screen after heavy use. It has an IP68 waterproof rating, making it shower and swimming pool-friendly. The TicWatch E3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip with 1GB of RAM onboard. You’ll only find this chip in one other smartwatch right now: the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 – which makes the E3 an affordable alternative to Mobvoi’s more expensive model. Most others have the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip. However, the newer, better chip in the E3 makes use smoother and more powerful. This means it’s super responsive and lovely to swipe through menus. You have everything you’d expect to see from a Google Wear OS smartwatch, too, like Google Pay, Google Assistant, maps and notifications. All of which work well, are quick to load and easy to use. The display is the perfect size for viewing notifications, your calendar and all other apps. So even though it can look a bit bulky on your wrist, it’s ideal for reading text and actually using these features – many wearables allow you to see notifications, but doing anything with them is fiddly. The E3 is the opposite, a large screen, which, coupled with the great-performing Wear OS, made swiping through menus and using the watch an absolute delight – despite the annoying bezel. What didn’t work quite so well, especially for notifications, was the vibration. It feels weak, which might suit some people but didn’t suit us because it resulted in some missed notifications. Sleep tracking works well and gave us almost identical results about the time spent asleep to the Whoop Strap 3.0 when we compared them. It also did a good job at identifying various sleep stages – light, deep and REM – although the Whoop was more sensitive to disturbances, but that’s to be expected as a more high-end device. There are a bunch of apps on the E3 that aim to improve your day by keeping an eye on you and the world around you. For example, TicZen keeps tabs on your heart rate to measure how stressed you are, and TicHear listens to the ambient sounds around you and lets you know if you’re in an environment that’s too loud and could affect your hearing. These were all interesting to open up now and again, but we didn’t find ourselves using them regularly. TicZen took more than 3 minutes to measure stress, by which time it felt a bit redundant and TicHear told us the sound of birds chirping and trees rustling in the local park were at dangerous levels, which seemed off. These are possibly more valuable if you have a specific concern you want to keep tabs on but be warned that they might not be as accurate as you’d need. Battery-wise, the E3 can last just under two days with all-day heart-rate monitoring on and no sleep tracking. You might get a little more out of it if you turn off the always-on HR and SpO2 measuring. But most people can expect a day and a half with the always-on features, workout tracking and sleep tracking. In terms of charging, it's relatively quick. It took us an hour and a half to get from 0% to 100% with the small magnetic charger, which fits onto the back. There's an Essential mode, which presents a battery-saving screen when you dip under 5% battery. When in this mode, you're only shown the time, date, steps taken and heart rate to keep the watch running but without draining the power on additional features. You can also switch this on at night if you don’t need sleep tracking. The TicWatch E2 runs on Google Wear OS, so you can use the Google Fit app on your phone and Google’s Fit Goals, Fit Heart Rate and Fit Workout apps on the watch itself, but Mobvoi does have its own suite of health and fitness apps. You need to sign in to Mobvoi to activate each and agree to data collection. TicExercise is Mobvoi’s exercise tracking app with 20 workout modes, including running, pool swimming, elliptical, walking and yoga. It’s a shame there’s no weight-related choice here, but the Freestyle option worked well for counting sets and incorporating pauses. GPS is built-in, which means you don’t need your phone with you if you’re going for a run, cycle or walk outside – the E3 can track your location for you. On a walk, we found it locked to GPS within 30 seconds, and the location data collected was all accurate. There’s also some auto exercise detection for running, walking and cycling. This worked well when we put it to the test with both a run and a quick walk. Essential for fitness tracking, there’s also an optical heart rate sensor onboard that continuously tracks your heart rate during workouts but can be switched on to take constant readings in real-time, too, with the TicPulse app. There’s also a useful heart rate warning function in there too. You can define the limits in your settings and get an alert when it goes too high or low. There’s also a blood oxygen sensor in the TicOxygen app. You can turn it on to take readings once every hour throughout the day and night to measure your SpO2 levels. This is useful for flagging up various health problems and essential for those with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory concerns. However, we did find the E3 often had trouble taking these readings, even when we wore the watch very tight. Like heart rate, you can also turn on an alert system here, which lets you know when your blood oxygen levels are abnormal. There’s no explanation about what that means, but we imagine an alarm will sound or vibrate if it deviates from your average readings. We put the Ticwatch E3 to the test during a number of different workouts. The start and stop functionality on the watch is really easy-to-use – especially when you’re tired and sweating. You also get the key stats you need displayed on the screen and, again, because the screen is big and responsive this was really handy. When you’ve finished a workout you get a color-coded summary of the time you spent in different heart rate zones, which we really liked. In comparison to the Whoop Strap 3.0, the timings and calorie burn figures were accurate, as was the heart rate data. At times it didn’t seem quite as sensitive, but the average heart rate and highs and lows all matched up afterwards in the Mobvoi and Whoop apps. This watch might be focused on general health and wellbeing more than fitness, but with GPS, auto-tracking and pretty reliable heart rate monitoring, it’s a solid sports option for the price. The Mobvoi app connected to the E3 quickly and easily when we first went through the set-up process and data transfers in seconds whenever we opened the app throughout the day. You’ll find everything you need in the Mobvoi app. Your activity is presented at the top in a circular visualization that includes active hours, exercise and steps. This is a nice and simple way to get a quick look at your performance throughout the day. Below that, you’ll find tiles relating to the different data E3 collects, there’s an exercise section, sleep, heart rate, SpO2, stress and noise as well. You can click into each of these tiles to see your stats for the day or zoom out and see trends over the week or month. The design of the app is as no-frills as the E3 itself. Everything you need is there, but the super simple design does feel basic compared to the competition. Because the E3 is running on Wear OS, you can also use Google’s apps, like Wear OS and Google Fit if you prefer. However, they’re also quite simplistic and don’t pull through all the stress, hearing or SpO2 data that makes the E3 so comprehensive in terms of health, so we stuck mostly with the Mobvoi app during testing. First reviewed July 2021

 

 45 /152 

0.8
Best blogging sites of 2021: Free and paid blog platforms

Free blogging sites have come a long way in recent years, and it’s now easier than ever to create a professional-looking blog to share a hobby with like-minded people, express your opinions, and establish an online presence. These free blogging sites are aimed at hobbyist bloggers – blogs are created and managed online, and hosted on the blogging platform’s own servers. If you want to create a self-hosted blog, the downloadable version of WordPress is an excellent option, with total flexibility, support for third-party plugins, and as much storage as your hosting plan allows. If you're interested in making a static website rather than an online journal, take a look at our guide to the best free website builders. Wix has a range of paid-for subscription plans, but also a free offering, although it’s best to note upfront that this has some caveats. With the free product, your site will have Wix branding, and you’ll be limited to 500MB of data transfer per month, so it’s not for heavily-trafficked sites. You also only get 500MB storage, too, so bear that in mind. Those limits aside, you are free to build a blog with an unlimited number of pages, and where Wix really distinguishes itself is with its powerful blog functionality. The editor may be simple, but you get access to all the stuff you need – from image galleries through to videos and music – and there are a ton of ways to customize a post. There’s also a lot of flexibility in the way you can schedule posts, and neat touches like being able to set up things so that posts are automatically pushed to Facebook when they’re published. For instance, there's a feature called Wix Bookings that allows customers to schedule appointments and classes right on your website. And what makes Wix truly compelling is that on top of this, you get the run of the rest of what this website builder offers aside from blog support. That includes using Wix’s ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) editor, which will ask for some basic info regarding the kind of site you wish to create, and features you want, and will swiftly produce something along those lines for you. That’s an impressive feature for novices, of course. There’s also commendably diverse support for various different types of media, and quality customer support to boot (yes, even on the free plan). The Wix Turbo feature is also on hand, and this increases the speed and performance of websites considerably. When you consider what you’re getting for nothing, the bandwidth and data limits don’t seem like such a heavy set of shackles. And you can always upgrade at a later date if you want to break free of them in the longer run. Try it online: Wix Powerful and highly customizable, WordPress is a brilliant platform for blogs of any size, and bloggers of all levels of experience. Creating your first blog is very straightforward, with a simple wizard that guides you through the process of choosing a name and suitable theme. You can leave it there and begin writing posts immediately, but the real fun lies in the more advanced editor, which lets you customize virtually every aspect of your blog’s appearance. Unlike some blogging sites, WordPress isn’t a drag-and-drop affair, and you’ll have to familiarize yourself with its system of menus. Doing so is well worth the effort, though, and enables you to create something truly personal. The editor also allows you to create static pages – like a writer’s biography, for example. The post-writing interface is much like an ordinary desktop word processor (though some options are presented in a toolbar at the top, while others are in a menu at the side, which can be a little confusing at first). Again, time spent getting to know the interface is rewarded with advanced features like customizable social media sharing buttons, geotagging, and the ability to pick a custom style for individual posts. Sometimes you might want to create a photo gallery, for example, and other times a more text-focused style would be more appropriate. You can also view and edit the HTML source. As your blog grows, WordPress lets you track its stats, including page views, visitors, likes and comments over time. You can also see how readers reach your site, which content they viewed, and where they are in the world, all of which is very useful in terms of being able to tailor your content accordingly. Your site is hosted on WordPress servers, with an address in the format yoursite.wordpress.com. Users of the free service don’t get email or live chat support, but the WordPress community forums are very active and questions are usually answered within a few minutes. Additionally, privacy protection for domains that are registered at WordPress.com is free. WordPress displays ads on free blogs, but provided you can live with that, it’s a top-notch solution for a free blogging site. Try it online: WordPress Blogger is another superb blogging platform. It’s not quite as powerful as WordPress, but on the other hand, it is more accessible for new users, which comes as no surprise when you learn that it’s owned by Google. Blogger offers an excellent selection of templates, all of which include mobile versions optimized for smaller screens – a very sensible addition with so many people accessing online content through smartphones these days. Blogger is also web responsive. Blogger’s post-editing tool is much like WordPress, but offers fewer options. As a result, its toolbars are less confusing – a trade-off between power and usability. One of Blogger’s best features is its integration with other Google apps and services. For example, it uses your Google Drive account to store images and other files for your blog. Google Drive gives you 15GB of space free, so Blogger is a good choice if you’re planning to share a lot of high-res photos. Spam comments are a big problem on blogs, so Blogger’s automatic spam filter can help save your sanity. You can monitor comments via Blogger’s dashboard, which also lets you see visitor stats. There are some handy visualizations here, including a world map to show the global distribution of your readers. Your blog will have an address in the format yoursite.blogger.com, and, like all Google services, will include ads. Support is available through the Blogger user forum, which is very active but has a strange layout that can be a little off-putting. In all other respects, Blogger is brilliant – in short, it is one of the best free blogging sites if you prioritize ease of use over flexibility, particularly if you are a fan of the Google ecosystem too. Try it online: Blogger Weebly takes a modular approach to blog building, with a drag-and-drop editor that lets you choose which elements to add to your site, and where. Pick a basic template, then plonk various types of content onto the page, including social media links, text, images, maps, and sections of code. It’s a refreshingly simple way to build a blog that feels unique to you, but doesn’t require any messing about with menus. It’s worth noting, however, that certain content blocks can only be positioned in certain areas; it isn’t a total free-for-all. This makes sense – forcing you to stick within the confines of your chosen template stops the page looking messy – but you might find it limiting. Blog posts are made in the same way: drag text boxes, picture frames, buttons and page breaks into position, then click to edit them. One particularly nice feature is the ‘secret draft link’, which lets you preview your unpublished post, and even share it with others via email before releasing it into the wild. Weebly has some other interesting tricks up its sleeve, including an area for pasting in Google Analytics tracking code (though it doesn’t offer analytics itself). You’re only given 500MB for uploaded content, so photographers might want to look elsewhere. Weebly puts an ad in your site’s footer, but it doesn’t obscure any of your content. Try it online: Weebly Whereas the other free blogging sites we've looked at here are designed to get as many eyeballs on your posts as possible, Penzu takes the opposite philosophy, and is the equivalent of a locked diary stashed in a safe. Penzu is a journal platform that makes your posts private by default and locks them down with at least one password (even after you’re logged in, you need a second one to read or edit your posts). That’s because it’s designed for private thoughts and personal reflection. There are free apps for iOS and Android that enable you to update your Penzu diary anywhere, but the contents are for your eyes only. Penzu isn’t a tool for self-promotion, so although it’s far from ugly, it understandably focuses on function rather than looks. Custom colors and backgrounds come at a price – currently $20 per year. It’s a shame that 128-bit AES encryption is also limited to the paid-for version, and there’s a fair amount of pressure to upgrade applied by Penzu. Extra options are often dangled under your nose then yanked away, but the core offering is a good one, and if you simply want a place to record your thoughts and practice writing, Penzu could be just the ticket. Try it online: Penzu

 

 46 /152 

0.4
How to Get the Best Surround Sound for Gaming

Your eyes can only see what's in front of you, but your ears can let you know where threats are all around you. And when it comes to gaming, being able to hear an enemy sneak up from behind is a big advantage. So it's surprising that surround sound isn't nearly as common a part of the average gaming setup as, say, gaming monitors or TVs. Then again, the technology typically uses multiple speakers spread out around you to produce a directional effect. For PC gamers usings headsets, or even console gamers who simply don’t have the space for a full surround system, that’s a pretty big obstacle. Fortunately, you can still enjoy the benefits of surround sound with just two speakers or a pair of headphones and a lot of audio processing. Simulated surround sound and spatial audio are increasingly common features on higher-end gaming headsets, but you can enjoy it on any headphones you can connect to your PC (or console) with the right software. So whether you're using headphones or a 5.1 speaker system (or more), we have everything you need to know about getting the best surround sound for gaming. What Is Simulated Surround Sound? Conventional surround sound uses multiple speakers (often six including a subwoofer, but potentially many more for a high-end home theater) to provide multiple outlets for different sounds to go through. If the audio signal of the movie you're watching or the game you're playing supports surround sound, it can send the right sound through the right speaker to provide a sense of directionality. That means the sound of something coming up from behind you will actually come from behind you. Surround sound has been primarily channel-based for the technology's lifespan, mixing audio specifically for a certain number of channels. A newer model, spatial audio (or object-based audio), is even more advanced. Instead of mixing sound into channels at the content level, sound is mixed around a 360-degree circle or sphere, with every audio source in the content precisely placed. This type of surround sound is more technically complicated, but it can scale to any size speaker system and supports height for true 3D playback that can come above or below you. Many movies are mixed with spatial audio for theaters and even home playback; Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are two such spatial audio technologies. Most 3D games employ some form of spatial audio on the fly simply by how their engines work. The game engine determines where sounds are coming from, then mixes that sound to a stereo,5.1-channel, or 7.1-channel stream. The problem here is that while downmixing all of those sources to a set number of channels is fairly easy, processing, rendering, and outputting a full 3D audio stream is much more processing-intensive, and the vast majority of games don't bother going that route. Several major titles do support Dolby or DTS spatial audio in some form, at least for headphones (like Call of Duty: Warzone, Forza Horizon 4, and Borderlands 3), but most output audio entirely in conventional channel-based surround sound. Obviously, the stereo drivers in headphones can't provide the same immersive, directional effect as multiple speakers can, which is where surround audio processing technologies come in. Tech like Dolby Atmos for Headphones, DTS Headphone:X, THX Spatial Audio, and Windows Sonic take directional audio data and determine on the fly how to mix it best into the left and right channels of your headphones. It's more than simply sorting out what sound goes into what ear. These systems figure out how to best pan and fade every element of what you're listening to based on their direction to give the best impression of that direction to your ears. This might sound like it just downmixes audio into stereo, and can't give any sense of forward-backward direction. In fact, that was the impression I had of the technology for years, but after listening to it steadily improve, I can say that it really does make a difference. No, you can't get the proper acoustics from headphones to let you really tell the difference between a sound coming from in front of or behind you, but with the right mixing, you can at least get a strong sense of it, along with very precise imaging from left to right. For first-person shooters, it can be a big tactical advantage. It can also make movies and games much more immersive. Even without the acoustic precision of a surround speaker system, proper directional audio processing through headphones can really make whatever you're watching or listening to feel bigger and more realistic. Surround Sound With a Gaming Headset Many higher-end gaming headsets offer built-in simulated surround sound. These headsets usually connect to your PC or console over USB, either with their own surround-processing sound cards incorporated into the connection, or with a token or code that authorizes the use of software that provides the feature. This is simple, but device-specific, and can potentially be limited to channel-based surround sound if your headset isn't designed for spatial audio. You plug in your headset (or transmitter if you're using a wireless headset), and it configures as a surround-capable device. You might need to install a companion app to enable the surround feature, but this is usually a simple toggle, perhaps with additional options to let you tweak how it sounds for you. How easy it is to set up depends on the model and the platform, with PCs often requiring configuration through an app and consoles usually handling it automatically. Surround Sound With PC and Xbox Software If you prefer to use an analog headset or headphones with a 3.5mm connector, or simply don't have surround on your USB headphones, you can set up spatial audio entirely with an app. Microsoft offers free surround processing with Windows Sonic for Windows 10 and the Xbox One X/S and Xbox Series X/S, or you can get a commercial app like Dolby Access, DTS Sound Unbound, or (PC-only) Razer THX Spatial Audio. These options usually cost between $10 and $20 (not necessarily to download the app, but to license the audio processing feature). You might find them preferable to Windows Sonic, which we feel doesn't sound as good as Dolby, DTS, or THX. Our guide to surround sound software walks you through these options, and highlights the differences between them. Surround Sound With the PlayStation 5's Automatic 3D Audio The PlayStation 5 is a unique case for surround sound. The bad news is that Sony designed the PS5 as an audio-walled garden, so you can't use the same surround sound and spatial audio apps as you can for Windows 10 and the Xbox. The good news is that they're unnecessary, since the console uses the company's own Tempest 3D Audiotech spatial audio processing. It works with any 3.5mm headset plugged into the DualSense controller and any PS5-compatible wireless headset, including Sony's Pulse 3D Wireless headset. Which Simulated Surround Sound Technology Is Best? All of these simulated surround technologies ultimately do the same thing, mixing directional audio to sound more immersive through headphones, but underneath what is pumped out to your ears are different methods that tweak how things sound. Those exact techniques are usually proprietary, so we can't really perform a step-by-step analysis or contrast the technical details. In terms of the end result and how immersive and directional the audio is when it hits your headphones, we can look at it in broad strokes. Generally, non-licensed headset surround processing (in headsets that have their own app or sound card, but don't use Dolby, DTS, or THX technology) is the least effective. It clearly does some processing and mixing, but it's usually channel-based and doesn't do the more precise spatial audio processing that other systems do. The exception here is the PlayStation 5 with Sony's Tempest 3D Audiotech. Sony has put a lot of work into its 3D audio processing, and it shows. We've found that the console's spatial audio is comparable with Dolby, DTS, and THX's spatial audio. That brings us to the pure software-based solutions: Dolby Atmos for Headphones, DTS Headphone:X, THX Spatial Audio, and Windows Sonic for Headphones. While Windows Sonic is free, we've found that it employs the lightest touch when handling directional audio, and its effects aren't as useful or immersive as the other three. As for Dolby, DTS, and THX, they're all excellent in their surround and spatial audio processing. Each technology is very effective, and can give a good sense of directionality through a gaming headset. Surround Sound With Soundbars and Speakers Headphone-specific spatial audio technologies best work with headsets, but the underlying technology can apply to speakers as well. After all, before Dolby Atmos for Headphones and DTS Headphone:X, there was simply Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, along with Dolby Digital and DTS multi-channel surround (THX Spatial Audio is designed specifically for headphones, and is only available on Windows 10). Essentially, surround sound between your game console or PC and your speakers is much simpler to set up, but you need to have the right content and equipment. If your games or movies support surround sound in some form, that audio will be output in a multi-channel stream for your speakers to mix and place. If your speakers, soundbar, or surround sound system support that multi-channel stream, you'll get the benefits of that audio. If not, you'll get a stereo mix. There are many possible configurations for speakers, soundbars, and multi-speaker surround systems, and any audio that comes out of them needs to be processed and mixed with the right configuration. Because of this, surround sound and Dolby Atmos/DTS:X compatibility, or at least multi-channel surround sound, need to be incorporated into the speakers themselves. The speakers need to explicitly support 5.1-channel surround,7.1-channel surround, Dolby Atmos, or DTS:X for you to get much benefit from surround streams, because at that point, the mixing and output to each driver in your system is performed at the audio device level. The Xbox One/Series X and PlayStation 4/5 can output multi-channel surround sound, and Xboxes in particular can output Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio streams (with the apps installed and licenses purchased). Windows 10 PCs can do the same, again with the Dolby and DTS apps. You'll find relatively few TVs with built-in speakers that support Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, because for most TVs, the audio is an afterthought compared with the picture quality. Surround and spatial audio compatibility are more common in soundbars, especially those with rear speakers, as well as full surround systems (and virtually all modern A/V receivers if you're going that route). For more on how to enhance your gaming experience, check out our picks for the top gaming monitors. And to fully furnish your gaming den, be sure to read up on our favorite gaming chairs, gaming keyboards and gaming mice.

 

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0.1
South Korea's Nuclear Research Agency Hacker Identified

The Atomic Energy Research Authority South Korea has been subjected to a 12-day cyberattack that is certain to originate from North Korea, according to KBS World. On Thursday, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) revealed the hacking incident during a hearing before a House Committee on National Security. According to ruling Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Byeong -ki and main opposition People Power Party (PPP) lawmaker Ha Tae-keung, the spy agency informed parliamentarians that it suspected a group affiliated with North Korea was behind the attack. The two MPs, who are both members of the intelligence committee, said the National Intelligence Service (NIS) did not believe the perpetrators had been able to gain access to critical technology. Rep. Ha, a senior member of the PPP's Intelligence Committee, pointed out that the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) reported the data breach to authorities on June 1. The same source states that a second investigation has been launched into allegations that the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) was also the target of a cyberattack. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIS) informed committee members that damage from state-sponsored cyberterrorist organizations increased by 9% in the first half of this year compared to the previous six months. North Korean hackers are conducting extensive operations against South Korean institutions and high-level government figures. Cybercriminal gang Kimusky successfully attacked several South Korean institutions, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA), the ambassador of the Sri Lankan embassy, the Deputy Consul General at the Korean Consulate General in Hong Kong, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Security Officer, in early June. According to South Korea 's top intelligence agency,North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have lost between ten and twenty kilograms and is conducting state business as usual. Kim Jong-un has recently appeared noticeably smaller in official pictures.

 

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0.6
There's Now a Tiny Washing Machine to Clean Your Grease-Smeared Glasses Too

If you wear glasses you probably have microfiber cleaning cloths stashed all-around your home because like death and taxes, your lenses getting dirty is inevitable. But why spend half your day rubbing dust and grease away when you can drop your specs into the LensHD and let the tiny washing machine do all the hard work for you? The LensHD is reminiscent of the Cardlax, a similar automated cleaning device that rids wireless earbuds of earwax and all the other nastiness they pick up while stuffed in your ears. Cleaning wax and gunk off of earbuds is definitely a more awful chore than buffing spots and fingerprints off a pair of glasses, but it’s a chore nonetheless, and one that can be finally outsourced to the machines. Inside the LensHD are a set of four soft blade-shaped sponges wrapped in microfiber cloth that each spin in a slightly offset rotation to increase the coverage area. Misting the sponges with a glasses cleaner before a cleaning improves their ability to lift greasy fingerprints (it’s not mandatory, but anyone with glasses knows it makes the process easier and more effective) but otherwise using the LensHD is as easy as placing a pair of specs inside and closing the machine, at which point the four sponges get to work, simultaneously cleaning both sides of each lens. The machine isn’t as portable as a microfiber cloth in your pocket (or just using the shirt you’re wearing) and it’s powered by a USB-C cable instead of rechargeable batteries, although you can always pair it with a portable power source if mobility is your priority. Specifics on how long a cleaning takes aren’t mentioned, but by wiping both sides of both lenses all at the same time, it’s almost certainly faster than cleaning your specs by hand. As for compatibility, the team behind the LensHD claims they’ve tested it with 100 different types and styles of glasses, so unless you wear especially unique or large frames, they should be compatible. As with the Cardlax earbuds cleaner, the creators of the LensHD (who were originally part of the team responsible for the Cardlax) have opted for a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help bring their creation to consumers. But with a funding goal of just $1,000, it seems like they’re using Kickstarter more as a pre-order platform, than a way to raise enough funds to put the LensHD into production. The cheapest pre-order option with a November 2021 delivery is listed at $79, although the full retail price will probably be much higher than that. D espite the fact the creators of the LensHD are “...ready to go into production, with sourced materials and a confirmed schedule with our reliable manufacturer locked down,” there’s still good reason to be cautious about any crowdfunded product, especially with a pandemic still underway all around the world that has made it difficult for even larger companies to get a product into consumers’ hands. If you do pre-order the LensHD, take that November delivery date with a grain of salt—or a heaping spoonful.

 

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0.7
British Airways Pays Compensations to Victims of a Massive Data Breach

In response to a data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 420,000 customers, British Airways (BA) has reached an out-of-court settlement with victims, according to IT Pro. The agreement with PGMBM, the company that had led the mediation between British Airways and the victims calls for the carrier to pay undisclosed amounts to victims of the class action. According to the UK's flag carrier airline, the law company filing the claim on behalf of the people affected would not be admitting blame in the case. In early September 2018, British Airways reported that its security systems had been attacked, exposing the personal data of around 420,000 customers and employees. Leaked data included full names, email addresses, and credit or debit card numbers. British Airways was initially hit with a record-breaking ICO GDPR fine of £183 million, that was later reduced to £20 million after a public outcry. This is a 25-fold reduction from the original forecast £500m penalty expected based on 4% of the company's global turnover in 2017. Harris Pogust, chairman at PGMBM said that the settlement “represents an extremely positive and timely solution for those affected by the data incident” [...] “We are very pleased to have come to a resolution on this matter after constructive mediation with British Airways,”. PGMBM was also appointed to act on behalf of victims of the EasyJet data breach last year, that exposed the personal data of nine million consumers, with a total of 2,208 victims having their credit card details exposed. Simply put, PGMBM has filed an £18 billion class action in the High Court in London and expects each customer affected by the security breach to receive £2,000.

 

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0.3
Three drone mistakes everyone makes (and how to avoid them)

I've been doing a lot of drone pilot training lately, and spending a lot of time flying the DJI fleet I've acquired (I have DJI Mavic Air 2, DJI Air 2S, and DJI Mini 2). It's a lot of fun, and after lockdowns and such, it's nice to get back outdoors. During my training, as well as my time on the drone forums and groups, I've come across three mistakes that I see a lot of people doing, mistakes that can be both frustrating because the user isn't getting the best from their investment, but also costly because they are putting their drones at serious risk of damage or loss. No one wants that, do they? Must read: The best browser to replace Google Chrome on Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android Today alone, I've come across over a dozen posts of Facebook in various groups from people who have either lost their new drone or crashed it hard into something on its first flight. Yikes! Get to know your drone before flying it. First off, read the manual (maybe do this while you're waiting for it to be delivered -- you can usually find the manuals online). Maybe watch some YouTube videos (I highly recommend filmmaker Jevan Dovey). Then, when you get the drone and you've unboxed it, taken off the stickers, and charged the batteries, it's time to fly. But don't do what I see too many do -- throw it into sports mode and start flying it like you stole it! Find a big open area with no people and start small. Practice take-off and landing. Familiarize yourself with the safety features, especially return to home. Then, after you've mastered this, you can start doing more fancy moves, like drawing a box with 20-foot sides. Then a box with 10-foot sides. Then practice doing circles f various sizes, and then figure of 8s. This is the sort of stuff that will get you familiar with your drone. Not ripping about with it like you're in The Fast and the Furious. About 90 percent of drone losses happen around trees and water (with a big portion of the remaining 10 percent being power lines). Why? Because the obstacle avoidance measures built into new drones can't detect small branches and twigs, and can also go crazy over water (yes, the obstacle avoidance is far from perfect, and I never rely on it). It doesn't take much to bring a drone out of the air, and getting it stuck 50 foot up a tree or losing it to a lake or ocean will bring your Top Gun days to an abrupt end. And remember, some insurance packages, like DJI's own Refresh package, only covers drone losses in the event of a flyaway, not pilot error. So, unless your landing in a tree or voyage to the bottom of the sea was as a result of a drone problem, you're outta luck. Yes, it's fun, and everybody does it. Fly it as high and legally allowed (yeah, remember that there's a limit) and take photos of things. But overall these photos end up looking flat and lifeless. And it's nothing that people can't see on Google Earth. Practice getting shots and angles that make for more dramatic filming. Play with reveals and parallax. It takes time and patience and working through that frustration that comes from wanting a shot but just not being able to do it… yet! Again, there are plenty of YouTube channels that will help (here's a couple of good sources: Jevan Dovey, and Stewart & Alina). Got any good drone tips? Post them below!

 

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0.4
Ransomware talks: How Biden could push Putin to the table

As the United States comes out of yet another major attack by a Russian ransomware gang, this one leveled at Florida-based software provider Kaseya by the REvil threat group, the administration is ramping up its rhetoric about holding Russia responsible for the criminal actions taking place within its borders. During a recent press briefing White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that a "high level" of U. S. national security has been in touch with top Russian officials about the Kaseya attack. She also said that another ransomware -focused meeting between the two countries is scheduled for next week. Psaki also passed on a warning to Russia. "As the president made clear to [Russian] President Putin [during their summit last month], if the Russian government cannot or will not take action against criminal actors residing in Russia, we will reserve the right to take action on our own." [ Learn how recent ransomware attacks define the malware's new age and 5 reasons why the cost of ransomware attacks is rising .| Get the latest from CSO by signing up for our newsletters .] The next day, Biden called together his top advisors, including key players from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, for a ransomware strategy session in the White House Situation Room. It's not clear yet what the brainstorming produced, but the pressure is on the administration to end the ransomware scourge. Crowdstrike co-founder and former CTO Dmitri Alperovitch and Russia expert and Director of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute Matthew Rojansky penned an op-ed urging Biden to give Russian President Vladimir Putin an ultimatum on ransomware. "If Putin chose to take the problem seriously, as Biden demands, Russian security officials could quickly identify and interdict the attackers and force them to unlock the data to stop the damage to businesses worldwide, including in the United States," they wrote. Whether or not any bilateral meetings between the U. S. and Russia would yield near-term solutions remains unclear. "I think Biden said it best back at the Summit: the proof will be in the pudding," Chris Painter, former head of the State Department's cybersecurity office and currently President of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise, tells CSO. The Russians have seemingly asked for a restart of the kind of joint high-level meetings on cyber that took place during the Obama administration, which were suspended after Russia invaded Ukraine. "I don't think it makes sense to reconvene such a large group," Painter says. "I think it's appropriate to have these more working-level talks now. Whether anything comes of it really depends on what actions Russia takes." "I don't think that the prospects are very high for dealing with Russia unless and until the U. S. develops a strategy of some sorts for imposing adverse consequences on Russia that will drive it to take the strategic decision to control the ransomware from within its borders," Paul Rosenzweig, Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute and former deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Department of Homeland Security, tells CSO. President Putin has little motivation to change the status quo, according to Rosenzweig. "Ransomware in the United States is a three-for-one for Putin," he says. "It disrupts America. That's always a good thing. Two, it's a training ground for his cyber militia, who are often part-time contractors when he needs them for state action stuff. And I've always had a personal suspicion, and this is speculation, that he and the oligarchs profit. They get a tithe for looking the other way." Painter said that during his time at the Justice Department and as Chair of the G8 High Tech Crime Group (when Russia was in the G8), Russia was not particularly cooperative when it came to cybercrime because the criminals were working at the behest of the state. "That does not seem to be the case here, or at least the White House is saying that does not seem to be the case here," he says. "Or there was corruption, which I think persists. As long as they were attacking targets that were outside of Russia, Putin and the regime didn't care about them and left them to their own devices." "If these ransomware groups are not acting on behalf of the Russian state, I think there's an opportunity to uproot them and actually take action. Biden can certainly make these groups' lives miserable if he wanted to, whether or not they get arrested." Aside from arresting the ransomware attackers, a near-impossibility given that Russia's constitution forbids extraditing its citizens, the Biden administration does have some options to push Putin to the table. "The key is for America to find a way to change the incentive structure in its dealings with Russia," Rosenzweig says. "We can go directly after the bad guys by destroying bitcoin wallets and stuff like that. But if we're talking about Russia incentivization, the only answer that makes any sense is to find something that Russia has or wants or needs that we can hold at risk that compels them to stop." "You can imagine a number of tools we can use to either put pressure on Russia itself, like additional sanctions," Painter says. But, "we haven't really had a strategic application of sanctions or other tools that we have. They've been sort of happenstance." Painter says, "we can do things I think that will make a difference, but it needs to be well thought out to use tools such as law enforcement or even other tools to disrupt these criminal enterprises [such as the Justice Department's takedown of the Darkside ransomware gang's cryptocurrency wallet], which I think was an innovative thing. You can even imagine doing disruptive operations that Cyber Command or others might do." "One of the [actions] I've been talking about with some friends is we could just shut Russia off from the network. We could change the BGP [border gateway protocol designed to exchange routing and reachability information] and isolate Russia more," Rosenzweig says. “It actually seems kind of commensurate and proportional and might have some effects." However, "there is no perfect strategy right now. Putin has, as far as I can see, zero incentive to change what he's doing. And that's not a condemnation of President Biden because I think the same was true under Trump and Obama."

 

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0.6
Celebrate Ultraman Day With These Gorgeous, Giant-Sized Posters

On July 10, tokusatsu fans across the world will mark 55 years since the debut of Japan’s game-changing, giant-sized superhero: the ultimate warrior of light, Ultraman! Along with the arrival of the latest hero in the franchise in the new series, Ultraman Trigger, it’s a day to celebrate one of Japan’s most influential superheroes —and io9 has the word on some gorgeous tribute art to mark the occasion. We’re excited to give you an exclusive first look at two new prints from Nakatomi celebrating classic Ultraman. The first is a familiar piece of art, available as a print for the first time: comics superstar Alex Ross’ gorgeous cover for Ultraman’s first Marvel Comic series, The Rise of Ultraman, depicting the transformed Shin Hayata as he towers over a watching crowd. It’ll be available in an 18x24" sized print with a run of 250 prints that will cost $60, or appropriate for the size-changing hero, an “ ultra-sized” 24x36" print. There’ll be just 66 copies of this edition—referencing the year Ultraman premiered,1966, and it’ll cost $150. For something entirely new though, beloved poster artist Tom Whalen has designed a new Ultraman tribute that celebrates both Ultraman himself, Shin and his human allies in the SSSP, and some of his most iconic Kaiju foes, including the Alien Baltan, Gomora, Red King, Dada, and, of course, Pigmon. Who doesn’t love Pigmon? Whalen’s 20x30" print is available for $50 as a timed edition run, meaning you don’t have to worry about it going out of stock if you order between the start of sale—Ultraman Day itself, July 10, at 2 p. m. Central—before the edition closes on July 13 at 10 p.m. Central. But if you want it even fancier, there’s also a limited 66 print that’s embossed on silver foil that will cost $100. Interested in celebrating Ultraman’s big birthday with this gorgeous art? Both prints will launch on the Nakatomi store at 2 p. m. Central on Saturday, July 10. Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.

 

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0.1
A virtuoso goes virtual and makes music through the pandemic - Microsoft Stories Asia

It was a big setback. But this innovative artist soon overcame her disappointment and reframed it as an opportunity to do something really different. “The pandemic made me ask myself, how can a musician get through this? I decided that the pandemic wasn’t going to stop me from making music. I had a solution in using technology.” Unable to stage live events or physically get together with other musicians, she went online with her Microsoft Surface device and held virtual sessions via Teams that took her beyond South Korea. She started playing with musicians she had studied with at Berklee, many of whom were also back in their home countries and grappling with the same question of how to stay creative during the pandemic. “For six or seven months I just focused on making my own music, working with session musicians who are all over the world – the States, Spain, Iran, Turkey,” says Lim. Instead of spontaneous jam sessions, she learned that the most effective way for her to engage with other musicians remotely was for each participant to prepare something in advance and then offer it up at the gathering, like a musical potluck. “My usual online collaboration method is when I make one track, maybe a bassline, I then go and share that. I’ll also transcribe it as sheet music and distribute it to them in advance and see if they can add something.”

 

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0.5
HDR TV: what is HDR, and what does High Dynamic Range mean for your TV?

What is HDR? It means high dynamic range and it's a term you've probably heard before here on TechRadar or if you've been looking for a new TV for your home over the past few years. The problem is, it's used everywhere but rarely explained – at least not enough for those without a lot of TV tech know-how to get their heads around. You know it's something good to have on your new TV, but you're probably less sure about precisely what it means. To make things easier, we like to think of it a bit like the audio-visual (AV) world's equivalent of 'organic'. But before we dig into the details, what's essential to learn is that HDR could change the way you watch TV – and even movies on your phone, too – for good. For starters, let's look at 4K TVs.4K TV displays tend to get most of the attention, as they produce four times the number of pixels of any HD TV on the market. But is more necessarily better when it comes to pixels? Do you care how many pixels there are if none of them look any good? That's where HDR comes in. What HDR does is get more dynamic pictures and quality out of those many, many pixels. This means your viewing experience is better. With an HDR TV, bright whites look brighter, dark blacks look darker, and 10-bit panels can finally display the 1 billion colors you never realized you could see. Simply put,4K describes the quantity of pixels, but it's HDR that describes their exceptional quality. Both are just as important as each other, but 4K without HDR won't look as good or be as fun to watch. HDR is used in a few different contexts. So let's clear up some confusion: the kind of high dynamic range that your HDR TV is capable of shouldn't be confused with the HDR photography options that have recently been added to smartphone cameras. Sure, they're similar. Both result in images that have a greater contrast between light and dark. But the way they work is slightly different. For example, high-end cameras and recent smartphone apps utilize HDR by combining several photos taken during a single burst of many photos. Separate photos are taken at different exposures during the process. These are called stops, and the amount of light is doubled from one to the next. So while the first stop produces an extremely dark image, the last result is exceptionally bright, lending better luminosity to the final portmanteau photo. But that's not the same for video. Yes, you're still getting an expanded color gamut and contrast ratio when it comes to video, but you're not doing it by combining several images or videos. It all has to do with the way an image is displayed on the screen and the source content used to do it. So although it might share a name and common points with photography, clearly HDR video is different to smartphone photography. The end result, an image with more contrast between its lightest and darkest areas is the same, but instead of combining separate images this effect is produced using better camera technology to capture the best possible footage in the first place. The improvements you'll see with an HDR image compared to a normal image are numerous. Whereas on a standard display everything below a certain brightness is the same shade of black, an HDR TV's display range goes further, allowing you to tell the difference between something that's really dark, and something that's just dark. (Go put on a horror movie and you'll be able to tell the difference immediately.) For example, a wide shot of a campfire at night could have subtle details in the flame rather than appearing 'blown out', along with palpable definition to objects that are barely lit in the gloomy surroundings at the edge of the frame. As Panasonic's training manager Michael Price says, "It's about control, not just extra brightness and results in more natural expressions of light and shadow." When we caught up with Hollywood cinematographer Vanja Cernjul he was positively brimming with excitement about HDR, saying that: "The whole composition is affected by the increased detail in brightness. "You no longer have to choose whether to expose for the highlights or the shadows, so when I shoot I try and include a light source in the shot, which I can play within the HDR grading session." In post-production Cernjul will tinker with the levels of exposure, brightness, contrast and colour saturation, making them look as good as possible on an HDR-compatible screen. He thinks that filmmakers will, like him, be attracted to work on TV with the possibilities of HDR. Having just completed shooting the second season of Marco Polo in HDR, Cernjul sees streaming services as the natural home for HDR production, because of the number of original shows being commissioned by the likes of Netflix and Amazon. HDR is bringing media closer to what the human eye sees, and by doing so, is creating more realistic images, from scenes bleached with sunlight to nighttime shots on city streets. Here's the big takeaway: HDR TVs and content will display a more realistic color range, with an expanded contrast ratio to make black parts of the image look closer to 'true' black. Watch some carefully crafted HDR, like Cernjul's short showcase movie, Converging Beams, made for Panasonic, and you can see the potential. You get so accustomed to simultaneously seeing shadow detail and details in the highlights that you may come to find watching standard images a bit flat and dissatisfying. Not only that, but HDR has some extra zip to it compared with standard viewing. There's a new level of dynamism to images, something hugely evident in a film like the Lego Movie. When we went from standard definition to HD, screen sizes were a lot smaller and just having the extra pixels was enough to transform the picture. Now that screens are so much bigger, however, it's not enough to simply add more pixels, as there are other aspects of the image that can be improved. What HDR adds in terms of additional colours, better clarity in shadows and highlights, is subtle but significant – and it delivers a much more visually satisfying picture than simply having extra pixels. The overall effect is a punchiness that's tantamount to creating a 3D image. But the tech still needs to catch up to the promise. Some cheaper LCD HDR screens struggle with displaying bright objects against sharply darker backgrounds, causing streaks of light to run down the screen or create halos around bright objects. These issues are of less concern on the kind of OLED screens made by LG, Panasonic or Sony, where each pixel generates its own light and can go completely dark. HDR is an end-to-end technology, so every step from creation to distribution to the screen in your home needs to be HDR-compatible, which means that legacy TVs can't show it. When you go out shopping for a TV screen you may notice an Ultra HD Premium logo on it. This means that the screen offers a level of performance that's guaranteed to get the most out of an HDR source. In terms of specification the screen must have 3840 x 2160 pixels (although this is no different to any other UHD screen) plus it must be able to display a vast number of unique color shades captured within an image. The other key metric for a Premium-badged panel is a contrast ratio of at least 1,000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level. Nits are a term that's been adopted by the TV industry to indicate the brightness of a display.1 nit is approximately equal to the light from a single candle. Most TV screens in use today offer between 300 and 500 nits, so that gives you a good idea of the greater luminosity required to show HDR. The above applies to LED-lit LCD screens while for OLED screens (which have lower average brightness and much lower black levels than LCD) it's 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level. Panasonic's Price says that edge-lit LED screens cannot produce high enough contrast and you need direct lighting (from behind the picture, a less-common method of lighting screens) to get enough dynamic range to meet Premium HDR requirements. In fact, the vast majority of LCD screens on sale aren't equipped to deliver the level of brightness required for a Premium badge so manufacturers are tending to simply sell non-premium models. Since manufacturers aren't obliged to reveal the number of nits (brightness) their screens achieve, or the contrast ratio, it's up to them to decide for themselves if a non-Premium screen has enough brightness and contrast to deliver a meaningful HDR image. The consumer electronics industry has previous form when it comes to offering similar but different standards, as while it was a lot easier to understand the difference between HD-Ready and Full HD the gap between "regular" UHD and UHD Premium displays is more fluid. But the bottom line is that the Ultra HD Premium branding is the most reliable way of ensuring you see what the creator intended. Another issue is that it's not compulsory to use the UHD Premium logo – others are (confusingly) using their own branding. Sony's product training specialist Gavin McCarran says: "What the Ultra HD Premium logo doesn't do is show all the range of models that can receive an HDR signal." Maybe Sony thinks the Premium accreditation will put people off buying the non-premium models because, after all, would you buy a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne if it were watered down to make it cheaper? The Ultra HD Premium hallmark can also be used on Ultra HD Blu-ray players and discs as HDR is a mandatory part of the Ultra HD Blu-ray spec. UHD screens without HDR compatibility will still show a 4K picture in SDR (standard dynamic range) from an Ultra HD Blu-ray but they won't be able to access the HDR metadata carried within the picture. Offering bit-rates up to 100 Mb/sec (approximately five times that used for streamed movies), in terms of content, Ultra HD Blu-ray is best placed to deliver the HDR goods. All HDR screens are able to display what's called HDR10, which has the same specification as the UHD Premium standard. It's compulsory on all Ultra HD Blu-rays, plus it appears on HDR dramas streamed by Netflix and Amazon. But there's another reason to be careful about which brand of HDR screen you buy and it's all down to the fact that there are several varieties of HDR being used by content creators. Dolby has an HDR10 rival called Dolby Vision, which has increased color depth (it's 12-bit rather than 10) and "up to" 10,000 nits peak brightness (which is far brighter than any current TV can offer). It also offers a feature known as 'dynamic tone mapping' which adjusts the brightness and contrast of scenes depending on how bright or dark they need to be. This dynamic mastering process is all done when the film is being edited, which means all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the fruits of someone else's hard labor. Only screens and players equipped with Dolby Vision decoding will be able to show Dolby Vision's 'improved' version of HDR. All of LG's OLED sets support it, as does Sony's flagship A1E OLED (two other Sony sets, the XE93 and XE94 are due to receive Dolby Vision support in a forthcoming firmware update). But Dolby Vision isn't the only player in the field of advanced HDR. There's Advanced HDR by Technicolor, a nascent HDR format from the people who brought you colored cartoons; Hybrid Log Gamma, which is the standard designed to work with broadcast television; and finally, HDR10+, a new standard that builds some of the benefits of Dolby Vision into an open-standard akin to HDR10. Technicolor and Philips are working together on another system that creates and delivers HDR and normal versions simultaneously, so that separate streams won't have to be created and graded. The correct content will be automatically chosen to match the screen's peak brightness and dynamic range. Finally, the BBC and NHK Japan are co-developing a version of HDR that can be used in conventional broadcasts. Called Hybrid Log Gamma, the interesting thing about the standard is that it's backwards compatible, meaning that if an SDR television receives this HDR signal, it will still be able to display an image (though obviously not an HDR one). While the big screen might be the best way to indulge in high dynamic range content, it's not the only way to watch it. HDR has been on most flagship phones since around 2017 with big names, like Apple and Samsung, ensuring the viewing tech is on their newest devices. What's more, YouTube recently made HDR videos available to certain mobile phones, including the Google Pixel, LG V30, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy Note8 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Interestingly, LG's handsets are compatible with the more advanced Dolby Vision standard, although you'll need to use Netflix (see below) to find any compatible content. If you want to find some YouTube HDR videos you can find a curated list of them here. Of course, YouTube isn't the only place to get HDR on the go: Netflix has also recently released the news that it too supports mobile HDR on the Samsung Galaxy Note8, LG V30, Sony Xperia XZ1 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium as well. If you're an Apple user, iTunes movies are also now available to watch on your phone with HDR, which is mostly to push people to Apple TV+, but still brings good quality viewing to your iPhone. Read our HDR on a smartphone guide for more. One of the reasons getting your head around HDR can be confusing is because there are lots of different types and terms to learn – and there are new ones announced every year. We haven't included them all in this guide, but one we think it’s worth finding out more about is HDR10+ Adaptive. HDR10+ Adaptive is a type of TV tech that’s featured in many high-end TVs. Simply put, it’s a way to calibrate picture settings on HDR10+ content in response to the intensity of light in the room around your TV screen. So for example, let’s say you want to watch something but there’s sunlight pouring in the window, well HDR10+ Adaptive calibrates picture settings in response to the intensity of light in the room around your TV screen. This might seem like a subtle difference to you, but it means you get a much better viewing experience. HDR is a landmark in home entertainment history. Think about it, we can now watch movie content in our home with the same colour grading as in the cinema – that's incredible, even if you're not a movie-lover. We can't wait for the time when broadcasters adopt HDR for the same reasons – imagine watching live sport broadcast from a stadium split between shadow and bright sunlight without a sudden jump in the exposure as the ball goes into the brighter section. Cinematically, it's going to have a significant effect too, with the director no longer needing to choose between exposing for the shadows or the sunlight. We think it'll soon be possible to say HDR has finally put the ultra into UHD viewing, and all the issues over different standards will have been resolved. However, as always there are format wars ongoing. Most hardware manufacturers are backing HDR10 (the official standard) but Dolby is a powerful force and has the content creators on its side too. It's not impossible that both standards will continue to co-exist (after all Dolby and DTS share the Blu-ray audio market) but the way to play it safe would be to choose new kit with Dolby Vision because HDR10 can always be shown on it. It's available right now and has been for some time. In fact, if you've bought a new TV over the past few years there's a good chance it's a 4K TV with HDR built-in and is one of the UHD Alliance-certified TVs. But how can you use it to watch HDR content? Well, if you own an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, are a member of either Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV+ or Disney+ – or just watch the occasional video on YouTube. Those major streaming providers have also both pledged to bring the technology to new series going forward. HDR has also been included as standard in the Ultra HD Blu-ray format. The amount of discs available, not to mention the number of players, is currently slim, but as more and more films get released in the format HDR is set to hit the mainstream very soon indeed. If you're streaming, you'll need a broadband connection of at least 25Mbits to watch streamed HDR, although Netflix uses something called adaptive streaming that gives the advanced screen tech priority over resolution in the case of insufficient bandwidth. Sky Q HDR was announced by Sky, along with Spotify integration and a lot more 4K UHD content, near the start of 2018. After some wait, all of those features have now arrived – yes, including an upgraded Sky Q box for HDR. Editor's note: Additional reporting by Dave James, Nick Pino and Jon Porter

 

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0.1
WildPressure APT Cybercriminal Gang Targeting macOS

WildPressure has added a new type of malware to its arsenal to carry out cyberattacks against organizations in the energy sector. The malware is distributed by threat actors via compromised WordPress websites, according to Threat Post. Yesterday, Kaspersky cybersecurity researchers revealed new details about the updated version of the Milium Trojan. WildPressure has been working on the malware since March 2020 and used it in attacks against a variety of organizations in the Middle East. According to Denis Legezo, a security researcher at Kaspersky, the new version of Milum can decode VBSCript Tandis Trojan, a multi-OS Guard Trojan and a PyInstaller developed to run on macOS. Legezo added “This PyInstaller Windows executable was detected in our telemetry on September 1,2020, showing version 2.2.1. It contains an archive with all the necessary libraries and a Python Trojan that works both on Windows and macOS. The original name of the script inside this PyInstaller bundle is ‘Guard’,” The script includes the PyInstaller package (Guard) is specifically designed to search for macOS computers on which the Milum Trojan has already been used. “For macOS, Guard decodes an XML document and creates a PLIST file using its contents at $HOME/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.pyapple.plist to autorun itself; while for Windows, the script creates a RunOnce registry key Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce\gd_system,” Legezo wrote. The threat actor managed to exploit command-and-control (C2) domains a few months ago, most of them being websites running WordPress hosted on compromised servers. Based on the particularities on the code, it is not excluded that WildPressure works closely with other threat actors in the Middle East.

 

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Best UK SIM-only deals for July 2021

Most people these days get a new phone on contract, but if you can afford to pay for that phone upfront (or you're now out of contract on your phone) it makes much better financial sense to get a SIM-only tariff. In fact, our round-up of the best SIM deals in the UK could save you a fortune in the long run. A big concern for many is that you'll lose your current phone number if you switch. But that's not true: you can transfer your current phone number to a new network and the whole process is simple if you use the text-to-switch service. Here, we've picked the very best SIM-only deals available right now. If you're studying at the moment, also check out our article on the best phone contracts for students. Below we have a more detailed breakdown of the best SIM-only deals; but the best one for this month is a deal from Three - £10 per month for the first six months for unlimited data, calls and texts on a 24 month plan. After the initial six months, the contract goes up to £20 per month. This also includes 5G coverage - take a look at Three's Unlimited SIM here. iD also currently has a great limited time unlimited data offer, if you don't mind cashback. You can get the iD unlimited SIM for just £11 per month for 12 months, with £84 worth of cash by redemption. Take a look at iDs unlimited SIM via mobiles.co.uk here. O2 also has a great offer in the Summer sale. The 30GB SIM has been slashed to just £15 per month for the first six months, and then £30 after. Whilst not as competitive as Three's deal price wise, you also get six months of either Apple Music bundled in with unlimited texts and calls. Check out O2's SIM-only deal here. It's also worth checking out 1pMobile. Whilst this is a Pay As You Go offer, it offers your usage at the following prices: 1p per minute on calls,1p per text and 1p per MB of data used. If you're someone who knows that your usage is low, then this could be a good option. Check out 1pMobile here. Also read: Best SIM deals for kids Unlike smartphone contracts, which typically stretch to 24 months, SIM-only deals are much shorter. Most SIM-only deals come with 12-month contracts, but there are many rolling monthly contracts – sometimes at the same price – that are ideal for visitors to the UK or for anyone who doesn't want to be tied in. The price you pay per month will largely depend on how many minutes and texts you need, and how much data you require. Plus, you'll need to decide whether your SIM is to go in a tablet (in which case you'll only need data) or a smartphone (in which case you'll want minutes, texts and data). Most operators don't allow you to simply take your SIM out of your smartphone in a tablet. Some often frown upon tethering, so check the Ts & Cs if you want to use your phone's data connection on your tablet, or a second phone. Pinning down the best SIM-only contract is tricky due to the huge number of combinations of minutes, texts and data available. Some providers also offer deals with cashback redemption - which means that you won't be billed the amount advertised, but you can claim your refunds from the provider. Most people will fall into one of three camps that we'll focus on here: those who simply want to make the odd call or text, and use their PC to go online; those who make calls and texts, go online, check emails, use apps and perhaps watch the odd video; and those who are permanently glued to their smartphone. Or, to put that more simply, light, moderate and heavy users. There are plans available from not much more than £5 per month if you plan on using your SIM for light use. We'd recommend considering iD, which is Carphone Warehouse's mobile network. All of iD's contracts offer bill capping, data rollover and Roam like at Home making it an even more appealing option with no nasty surprises. If you buy direct from iD, you can also get five months worth of Apple Music, Apple Arcade or Apple News+ completely for free. Lebara also offers some great light plans, such as the 2GB rolling plan for £5 per month. With this you also get 100 minutes to 41 international countries - great if you need to call family abroad. You also get 1000 UK minutes and 1000 texts. View Lebara's deal here. For moderate use, and also for teenagers, the best deal is from Voxi, which is powered by Vodafone. It's an interesting one, because you get 15GB of data, but social media usage is unlimited and won't eat into that data. That means any Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Pinterest and more. Voice and video calls via those apps is not included, but all other activity is. You can also get a very cheap deal from ID via Mobiles.co.uk: It's also worth checking Giffgaff and Smarty for moderate deals that might suit your needs. All are simple, SIM-only providers with attractive options powered by Three or O2. Giffgaff is currently offering more data on all of its goodybags, including the golden goodybag which is growing from 9GB to 10GB for £10 per month. For anyone who wants the freedom to text and use the internet as much as they like, our favourite deal is Three's long term Unlimited deal for £10 per month for the first six months. Other recommendations include: You can't simply take the SIM out of your phone and stick it in your tablet. You need to get a SIM that uses a data-only plan (and don't forget that not all tablets offer SIM-card slots, in which case you'll only be able to connect to WiFi). How much data you need will very much depend on the activities you intend to enjoy on your tablet, plus whether you spend any of your time within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. If you want a SIM just to cover you on the odd occasion that you use your tablet away from home and need to continue to access your email, you certainly don't need to pay out extra for a 4G plan. Some of the best SIM-only deals for tablets come from Three, which offers 2GB for £8 per month,15GB for £14 per month and 40GB for £18 per month. You can view those deals here.

 

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0.0
Pennyworth season 3: Everything you need to know

It’s not often that butlers get the starring role in TV shows, but when that employee buttles for Thomas Wayne and his young son Bruce, there’s a bit more of a story to tell. Pennyworth has already completed two seasons and there could be a big move ahead for the franchise. Here’s all we know so far about season three.

 

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0.5
Google says new antitrust lawsuit targeting the Play Store is meritless as Android allows sideloading

What just happened? Google is facing its fourth antitrust lawsuit brought by the US government in a year after attorneys general from 36 states and one district sued the company over anti-competitive practices related to the Play Store. In response, Google says the suit is meritless as Android allows apps to be downloaded from rival stores or directly from a developer’s website, unlike iOS. Google has been slammed with antitrust lawsuits from both the US government and in Europe in recent times. The latest, filed Wednesday, alleges that Google makes it difficult for app developers to distribute their Android apps anywhere other than its Play Store. This ensures Google receives its 30% commission on app purchases. Devs also say they are forced to use the Play Store because Google has “targeted potentially competing app stores.” Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Google has or has tried to secure agreements with handset makers like Samsung and network operators such as Verizon to preload its apps on their devices and to not open their own competing app stores. It also alleges Google tries to keep users away from other stores by warning them they may contain malware—not that the Play Store is free of such things. “Once again, we are seeing Google use its dominance to illegally quash competition and profit to the tune of billions,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “Through its illegal conduct, the company has ensured that hundreds of millions of Android users turn to Google, and only Google, for the millions of applications they may choose to download to their phones and tablets. Worse yet, Google is squeezing the lifeblood out of millions of small businesses that are only seeking to compete. We are filing this lawsuit to end Google’s illegal monopoly power and finally give voice to millions of consumers and business owners.” Google says its fees are comparable to other stores Google posted a response stating the ability to sideload apps and the fact that many Android devices ship with two or more app stores preloaded makes the suit meritless. “If you don’t find the app you’re looking for in Google Play, you can choose to download the app from a rival app store or directly from a developer’s website. We don’t impose the same restrictions as other mobile operating systems do.” “So it’s strange that a group of state attorneys general chose to file a lawsuit attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others. This complaint mimics a similarly meritless lawsuit filed by the large app developer Epic Games, which has benefitted from Android’s openness by distributing its Fortnite app outside of Google Play.” Google also notes that Android devices such as the Amazon Fire tablet come preloaded with a competitive app store and no Google Play Store. “This lawsuit isn’t about helping the little guy or protecting consumers. It’s about boosting a handful of major app developers who want the benefits of Google Play without paying for it,” Google concluded. “Doing so risks raising costs for small developers, impeding their ability to innovate and compete, and making apps across the Android ecosystem less secure for consumers.”

 

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0.7
Surface Duo to Get Android 11 in September or October, Duo 2 Also Coming

Surface Duo is Microsoft’s big bet in the Android hardware world, but it’s not a secret that the first-generation model has been more of an experiment that the software giant is still working on refining. One of the most anticipated update, however, is the debut of Android 11, as the Surface Duo is still running Android 10 at a time when Google is already finalizing Android 12. And according to Microsoft watcher Zac Bowden, the company is now working on giving the finishing touches to the Android 11 update for the Surface Duo, though the ETA has recently changed. Android 11 was originally planned to go live for the Surface Duo in August, but more recently, the release target has changed to September or October. If you’re wondering why, it’s all pretty simple. Microsoft is also planning to launch a new-generation Surface Duo this year, so the debut of the device is likely supposed to take place when the Android 11 update is ready as well. In other words, Microsoft wants to announce the Surface Duo 2 with Android 11 out of the box, with the original Surface Duo to also get the update shortly after this. Microsoft typically unveils new Surface devices in the fall of the year, either in October or November, so it’ll be interesting to see if the ETA of Android 11 is different or not. But right now, it’s pretty clear the Surface Duo needs Android 11, as this new operating system is supposed to further refine the experience with the dual-screen device in almost every single area. As for the Surface Duo 2, while some people might be disappointed not to get Android 12 out of the box, there’s a chance Microsoft sticks with Android 11 just to make sure everything is working properly.

 

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2.7
Loki’s cinematographer explains the set that was ‘a bitch to shoot’

Loki on Disney Plus $8 Prices taken at time of publishing. Sign up for a month- or year-long subscription to catch Marvel’s six-part MCU series

 

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0.9
Crypto Crash Today: Why is cryptocurrency falling? (July 8, 2021)

Investors across the world woke up to discover a nasty crypto crash today. Bitcoin fell by more than 6%, leading to a flash decline responsible for wiping almost $100 billion from the cryptocurrency market. The likes of Ether (ETH) and Dogecoin (DOGE) are down, alongside most other coins and tokens, but why exactly? Here’s the latest information on the July 8, 2021 crypto market crash. #Bitcoin getting into a very tight range with no volume.. volatility on the way.. pic.twitter.com/ksVOV3RWu0 Bitcoinsensus (@Bitcoinsensus) July 6, 2021 Crypto value is falling today, July 8, 2021, as market leader Bitcoin (BTC) fell by more than 6% overnight. Bitcoin has been unusually stable in recent days, causing (seemingly accurate) speculation that market volatility is on the way. Rather than there being a major cause to point fingers at — like an Elon Musk tweet, for example — the market is experiencing natural fluctuations. Past precedent indicates that the market will more than likely recover, and even continue to prosper. Only time will tell for sure, however, so be sure to keep a close eye on any investments. Bitcoin is the overriding reason for the crypto crash today. Cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin are getting swept up, simply as a result of the market leader dropping. Many traders see BTC falling as a sign to bail on their crypto investments, as others are sure to follow. In actuality, this can serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy and be the root cause of dragging prices down. Looking for new crypto investment opportunities? Tiger King Coin (TKING) is Joe Exotic’s brand-new cryptocurrency, and it’s currently taking off. Proceeds from sales help to fund Joe’s ongoing legal battle, so investing could serve a dual purpose for fans of the Netflix star. As part of the same ecosystem, people can also purchase Tiger Cub tokens (TCUB) — here’s how to do just that. In other crypto news, Baby Doge Coin recently got a boost from Tesla CEO Elon Musk. A lot of people are looking to invest, though there’s been some confusion over the Baby Doge ticker symbol.

 

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0.5
Neighborhood Watch Goes Rogue: The Trouble With Nextdoor and Citizen

In 2013, online sleuths combing through publicly available photos and videos of the Boston Marathon bombing locked in on potential suspects, including a high school track star and his coach, who landed on the cover of The New York Post. The allegations ripped through 4chan, Reddit, and other forums. One problem: these citizens detectives were wrong, and their wild speculation prompted the FBI to release details about the actual suspects, “in part to limit the damage being done to people who were wrongly being targeted as suspects in the news media and on the internet." Reddit later apologized on behalf of its community. Eight years later, conspiracy theories still run rampant online, but the problem is no longer relegated to the smaller corners of the web. Apps like Citizen and Nextdoor, which ostensibly exist to keep us apprised of what’s going on in our neighborhoods, buzz our smartphones at all hours with crime reports, suspected illegal activity, and other complaints. But residents can also weigh in with their own theories and suspicions, however baseless and—in many cases—racist. It begs the question: Where do these apps go wrong, and what are they doing now to regain consumer trust and combat the issues within their platforms? 'Tap Into Your Neighborhood' Nextdoor For a lot of people, apps like Nextdoor and Citizen are as commonplace on their smartphones as rideshare or food delivery apps. Launched in 2011, San Francisco-based Nextdoor aimed to turn neighborhoods into hyper-localized social networks. People joined groups to ask about everything from suggestions for landscaping services to the best places to get pizza. But they could also alert each other to “suspicious” behavior in the area. As residents in Oakland, California, soon found out, suspicious often translated to Black. Citizen, meanwhile, debuted in 2016 in New York City. Then known as Vigilante, it was pulled from the Apple App Store within 48 hours of its launch amid concerns that the app encouraged people to descend on crime scenes and take matters into their own hands. It relaunched in 2017 on iOS and Android as Citizen, with the company insisting that “any reckless or dangerous behavior will not be tolerated.” Citizen has since expanded to more than two dozen cities around the US, most recently in Atlanta. It relies on publicly available emergency services data, like 911 calls, and lets users contribute real-time photos and video from the scene, as well as add comments. Zoom in and out on a map of your area for a quick look at what’s been happening there recently, from gas leaks, car crashes, and fires to more violent crimes. Footage is provided to local TV stations for free, The New York Times reports. But Citizen recently saw an unwelcome return to its vigilante roots when it blasted out a photo of a man it said was a California wildfire arson suspect. “Citizen is offering a $30,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of the arson suspect in Pacific Palisades,” the alert said. As LA-based reporter Cerise Castle noted on Twitter at the time, people broadcasting live via Citizen OnAir following the alert were asking app users to “hunt this guy down,” even as tips about the man’s involvement in the fire fell apart in real time. At the time Castle tweeted, the Citizen alert had 1.4 million views. The man in the alert was later detained by police but released, as there was no evidence connecting him to the crime, according to SFGATE. Another man was arrested and charged days later, forcing Citizen to issue an apology reminiscent of the mea culpa Reddit released in 2013. In a statement to PCMag, Citizen emphasized that it’s working to provide stronger moderation through its in-house analysts, who have law enforcement training. “Notifications that are sent to large groups of users require an additional layer of review for accuracy as well as management approval,” the company said. Citizen pointed to the successes of the OnAir feature before the Pacific Palisades incident, citing its usage in aiding victims of a fire in Queens, New York, where users contributed to a GoFundMe campaign set up to help them find new housing. But this incident comes as Citizen prepares to expand its reach and offer law enforcement-type services. A Fast Company reporter said last month that she was offered a trial of Citizen Protect, a $19.99-per-month service that connected Citizen users with virtual concierges for quick assistance in an emergency after uttering a safe word. Mentions of Citizen Protect on the company’s website are scant. The company told us that “it’s still in testing. We don’t have anything further to add at this point." Vice’s Motherboard also reports that Citizen may launch its own security force, which would be dispatched to Citizen users at their request. But can Citizen keep that data private? A recent incident, also reported by Motherboard, in which details of 1.7 million incidents recorded by the app, suggests otherwise. The flurry of notifications from Citizen gives users a sense of urgency, and perhaps unease. Some have noticed how many Citizen alerts are for fairly minor issues. On Twitter, one woman shared part of a conversation with her Lyft driver, who was glued to reports from the Citizen app. She suggested he delete it. Another Twitter user had similar complaints about Nextdoor notifications for her Manhattan neighborhood, which “didn't seem to be very solution-oriented or even helpful.” “It is useful to know about/discuss some issues, but I agree so many are just excuses to rant about the same things vs. intending to inform or find answers. When people use it like Twitter, doesn't encourage me to engage,” someone else chimed in about Nextdoor. The 'Karen' Problem Even if you don’t have Citizen-branded SUVs zooming around your neighborhood, you might have ill-informed neighborhoods itching for drama in the name of safety. As the pandemic took hold last year, Nextdoor saw an 80% increase in activity. People were looking for toilet paper and offering to help neighbors get groceries, but they also lashed out, forcing Nextdoor to release a statement warning people not to be racist, particularly toward Asian-American users. By mid-June 2020, as protests following the murder of George Floyd emerged in cities around the country, Nextdoor posts advertising protests were removed by moderators while those advocating violent behavior against those protesters remained, The Verge reported. “ @Nextdoor needs to publicly deal w/their Karen problem,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N. Y.) tweeted, referring to white women who flip out and call the police over minor issues, many of which involve people of color. Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar promised at the time to “better educate our neighbors on what is — and is not — allowed on our platform, drawing a firm line against racist behavior, racial bias, and racial profiling and removing comments and members who violate the rules.” That included the removal of the Nextdoor “Forward to Police” feature, which let people send posts to local law enforcement. “After speaking with members and public agency partners, it is clear that the Forward to Police feature does not meet the needs of our members and only a small percentage of law enforcement agencies chose to use the tool,” Nextdoor said. Amazon’s Ring made a similar change earlier this month. Previously, police departments could request footage from private Ring home security camera owners via a portal. But amid pushback from civil liberties groups, Ring announced that requests for footage must be made publicly. Nextdoor notifications Earlier this year, Nextdoor also launched a training program for Neighborhood Leads and Community Reviewers—a group that’s about 100,000 strong as of this writing—with tools on inclusive moderation and anti-bias education. Starting in April, it also rolled out alerts that appear when people try to use “language that could be offensive or hurtful to people of all backgrounds," which encourage them to edit their thoughts. Facebook to the Rescue? Not one to let a popular fad pass it by, Facebook is eyeing a feature that might give Nextdoor a run for its money. Last fall, the social network rolled out a beta test of Neighborhoods in Calgary. It expanded to all of Canada in May, with a rollout in select US cities expected soon. The goal, Facebook says, is to connect people with their immediate neighbors, help then engage with local groups, and discover new places and get recommendations. To join, you’ll need to be 18 or older and confirm your neighborhood, much like Nextdoor. But Facebook has struggled to contain misinformation on a global scale. Facebook Messenger posts were blamed for inciting violence in Myanmar, for example, and the company was forced to limit message forwarding on WhatsApp to crack down on COVID-19 lies. Is it also ready to moderate your most ridiculous neighbors? In theory, community apps like Citizen, Nextdoor, and Facebook Neighborhoods bring people together at time when many of us turn to the internet and our devices to make connections. But it’s a fine line between staying on top of what’s going on around us and harassing the people who live and work there with ill-advised posts and even calls to 911. The companies themselves have a financial incentive to keep us engaged (Nextdoor just filed to go public), whether its users are building strong community ties or overreacting to doom-and-gloom notifications. Can we trust them not to lead us into the abyss, or is it on us not to get caught up neighborhood drama and our baser instincts?

 

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0.5
Dell slashed over $200 off this Alienware gaming monitor today

You won’t have a problem looking for desktop monitor deals from the many retailers selling their wares online, but if you’re an avid gamer, you should be aiming to take advantage of gaming monitor deals. There’s no sense in upgrading the components of your gaming PC if your monitor wouldn’t be able to keep up due to low resolution and a sluggish refresh rate. If you’re in need of a new display, check out Dell’s offer for the Alienware 25 gaming monitor that slashes $240 off its price, bringing it down to just $270 from its original price of $510. The Alienware 25 gaming monitor features a 25-inch display with full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, for clear details and life-like images that will help you better appreciate the graphics of the latest games. With refresh rates of up to 240Hz and a true 1ms response time, ghosting and blurring will be eliminated, giving you an advantage over your opponents in online multiplayer matches. It’s not all about what’s on the display though, as the Alienware 25’s unique looks and customizable lighting system are conversation starters, while the tapered legs will let you turn your keyboard to any side angle. The gaming monitor’s height adjustment marker lets you set it at the perfect position, and it stays running at optimum performance even after hours of playing due to its cooling and venting design. Give justice to the advanced graphics of your favorite games and the processing capabilities of your gaming PC with a top-quality screen like the Alienware 25. If it’s time for an upgrade, you should avail of Dell’s $240 discount for the gaming monitor, which lowers its price to $270 from its original price of $510. It’s unclear how long the deal will last though, so if you want to buy the Alienware 25 gaming monitor for almost half its original price, you shouldn’t hold yourself back from clicking that Buy Now button. If you’d like to look for alternatives to Dell’s offer for the Alienware 25 gaming monitor, we’ve gathered some of the best gaming monitor deals that are currently available, covering different brands from some of the most trusted retailers.

 

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0.7
OpenUK's latest report paints a rosy picture of open source adoption

OpenUK has released the second of its three-part probe into the state of open source in Britain, finding that an overwhelming majority of businesses use the wares – but noticeably fewer are willing to contribute code back. "The first of its kind, this report makes visible the current business adoption of open source software in the UK and provides a baseline of what will be an annual review – to capture the growth, shifts and changes of open source software use in the UK in the coming years," claimed Jennifer Barth, PhD, founder of consultancy firm Smoothmedia and the leader of the research which led to the report. In the report, State of Open: The UK in 2021, the research organisation said that terms of numbers, "Open source software has long been the seed of growth in the UK economy" and is being used by businesses of all sizes in all sectors. "Open source software is no longer a niche term for business and government," Andrew Waffa, Arm distinguished engineer and senior director of its software communities division, added in the report's foreword. "When it comes to software standards, open source is the way to get it done. "Looking at the software industry, many of the biggest businesses are heavily reliant on open source; whether it be cloud vendors, software vendors, healthcare, the financial industry, telecommunications or... the list goes on. Open source software is the foundation for established vendors even when their products are proprietary. It is the toolbox enabling entrepreneurs and startups." Figures shared in the report, which surveyed 273 randomly sampled UK companies of varying sizes and across numerous sectors, would appear to back that up. OpenUK has reported that an impressive 97 per cent of businesses surveyed use some form of open source software, with 48 per cent having increased their use in 2020 compared to the year before. The most commonly used types of open source software, the report found, were programming languages at 86 per cent, miscellaneous software tools at 84 per cent, public code repositories at 83 per cent, operating systems at 80 per cent, and databases at 78 per cent. Least popular by quite some distance, in a finding as interesting as it is concerning, were open-source security and observability tools. That could highlight a problem. "Placing cost before the quality of the code and its security is a sure sign as to why we get so many security clangers down the line," ESET UK cybersecurity specialist Jake Moore told The Register . "Although the infosec crowd keeps banging the security drum there is good reason for why we do. The security of the software should be at the heart of its design but until decision makers realise that it's not always about money we will continue to walk hopelessly into inevitable threats." The report found a split between business sectors, particularly when it came to use of open-source operating systems such as Linux and the BSDs: While 90 per cent of technology, media, and telecommunications companies and 93 per cent of banking, insurance, and financial service sector companies reported using open-source operating systems, just 63 per cent of companies in the public sector, health, and pharmaceutical markets reported the same. A look at cloud infrastructure use, meanwhile, showed a clear triopoly with Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft's Azure arm gobbling up the majority usage share - AWS being a particularly popular choice, with 68 per cent of respondents using the platform. Companies may be willing to take from the world of open source, but they seem less eager to give. The report found that while 97 per cent of respondents used open source software, only 65 per cent contributed back in any way - with the technology, media, and telecommunications businesses responsible for the majority of those contributions. A minority, at 49 per cent, reported developing open-source software, and slightly less at 48 per cent said they had open-sourced their own software - with small companies outdoing larger firms in that regard. The main reason for picking open-source software, meanwhile, is less to do with the freedom involved and more to do with the companies' bottom lines: 75 per cent reported cost saving as the primary driver for open-source adoption, with collaboration and skill development trailing behind. "Open source is embedded very deeply but very stealthily in the fabric of UK business," opined Nigel Abbott, region director for NEMEA at report sponsor GitHub and an ambassador for OpenUK, of the report's findings. "If the average C-suiter knew their reliance upon open source, then I think its importance, investment in it, and particularly a company's commitment to participating in projects would be much more prevalent in the UK." The report also offered tips for those looking for jobs. Respondents reported back-end developers as the most in-demand role, with 38 per cent having hired for that position over the last year and 23 per cent planning to hire over the next 6-12 months. Other popular roles included development leads, full-stack developers, and development operations (devops) engineers, with demand for senior roles like architects dropping - an impact, the report concluded, of the pandemic. Interestingly, the report found that despite the economic shock felt by the country from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing Brexit debacle, and the general financial downturn, things look rosy for open source. Most respondents reported no impact on their use of open source as a result, with some going so far as to predicting the financial downturn will actively boost its adoption. The full report, and the earlier Phase One report which named the UK as Europe's number-one contributor to open source and estimated a £43.1bn contribution to the nation's gross domestic product directly attributable to open source, is available on OpenUK now. ®

 

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6 annoying things that smart speakers do and how to fix them

When it comes to running your smart home, you’re going to need some kind of hub device to interact with all of the web-connected gear in and around your domicile. A hub can be anything from a smart speaker or display to an app installed on your preferred mobile device. While it’s convenient to be able to just grab your phone, open the Alexa app, and remotely lock/unlock your door when leaving and arriving, nothing beats the convenience of executing voice commands to your smart ecosystem through a dedicated speaker like the Amazon Echo, Google Nest Audio, or Apple HomePod. While smart speakers can do everything from playing your favorite music to controlling the smart lights and locks in your home, they’re not bulletproof in terms of operation. Like most things tech, you’re bound to run into some bumps, glitches, and more general issues when using the smart speakers in your home. Does your Echo speaker not respond to your commands? Does your second Nest Audio forget that you’ve set a timer on another Nest speaker? To shine a light on some of the holdups that a number of device users (including ourselves) have experienced, we’ve put together this list of the most annoying things that smart speakers do. Read on to see what troubles you may recognize and if some of our many solutions is helpful. You go to ask your Echo speaker to read you the news of the day, but instead of firing up NPR, the device doesn’t do a thing. Being the savvy investigator that you are, you pop open the Alexa app, only to find that the speaker isn’t even online. And that’s the third time today! What you may be dealing with is a bottlenecked Wi-Fi network. While smart speakers are relatively low-bandwidth compared to other web-connected hardware like laptops, phones, and smart TVs, having too many devices on one network can often result in various gear getting booted off altogether. If you’re noticing that this is happening a lot to your family of smart speakers, there are a few fixes you can try. First, if you’re able to, try relocating your smart speaker to a location that’s closer to your home’s router. Everything from walls and floors to certain device frequencies can get in the way of your Wi-Fi shaking hands with your speaker. If your speaker needs to be tethered to the original location you’ve chosen for it, you can always try assigning it to a different Wi-Fi band (if you’re using a dual-band router). Amazon, Google, and Apple smart speakers are all capable of 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections. If you’ve noticed that there are a lot of devices on one band, switch your smart speaker to another and see if the connection is more stable. If this still isn’t doing the trick, you could consider upgrading your home’s router to a mesh-network system. Mesh-powered Wi-Fi uses a central router hub that pings Wi-Fi to a series of satellites that you scatter throughout your home to expand Wi-Fi coverage. This is another common hiccup that usually has more to do with placement of your speaker than anything else. You go to ask your HomePod to dim the smart lights upstairs and… nothing. After several frustrating attempts, you realize that not one of your “Hey, Siri” wake phrases are being recognized by the speaker. Aside from a dumped Wi-Fi connection, another reason your speaker may not be listening to your commands is because it can’t hear you. The far-field microphones on Echo, Nest, and HomePod speakers do an excellent job of picking up on human voices, but everything from loud TVs and sound systems to bustling home appliances and other voices can block the sound of your voice from reaching your smart speaker. If at all possible, lower the volume of audio sources around your speaker, or relocate the speaker to a room with less noisy hardware (and family members). Although, there’s also the issue on saying some choice words that can accidentally set off your smart speaker. We’ve noticed that Amazon’s Echo lineup likes to offer suggestions to users, even after the most basic of commands. An example may be that you’ve asked Alexa to “add ketchup” to your shopping list. After she responds with “I’ve added ketchup to your shopping list,” you may hear a phrase that starts with “By the way …,” followed by a shopping suggestion, a description of an Alexa feature, or something else entirely. If you’re tired of listening to Alexa’s system-generated suggestions, you can disable some of her chime-ins by going into the Alexa app. At the bottom of the Home Screen, tap More, followed by Settings > Notifications > Things to Try. Alexa-powered speakers also have a function called Hunches that is enabled by default in the Alexa app. Hunches is great for reminding you to do things like shuttering your smart lights when you leave the house (if you forgot to turn them off) or latching your smart lock if it slipped your mind when you hit the road for work. Like Things to Try, though, Hunches may get a hair overbearing. To shut off the function, launch the Alexa app, then tap More > Settings > Hunches. You can then just toggle off the feature. Sometimes when we ask our smart speaker to do something, all we want is the command performed and nothing else. Unfortunately, Amazon and Google smart speakers have a tendency to become quite chatty after you’ve asked them to do something. After you’ve said, “Alexa, add ketchup,” the voice assistant typically responds with something like “OK, I’ve added ketchup to your shopping list.” If you want to bypass your repeated command entirely, you can disable these full-phrase responses by popping into the Alexa app, tapping More > Settings > Voice Responses > Brief Mode. This will shorten Alexa’s responses, even relegating some of them to mere chimes instead. While Google speakers (and other brands) don’t have an immediate Brief function that you can simply toggle on/off, there are other workarounds you can try. One such solution is to reclassify all of your home’s smart devices as “lights” in the Google Home app, regardless of whether they actually are or not. When interacting with smart lights, Google Nest speakers will emit a chime when commands are completed instead of a repeated phrase. It’s a bit of a backdoor fix, but it works. You set a timer on your kitchen Nest speaker for the food you’ve got in the oven. After proceeding upstairs and reading for awhile, you hear the timer start to go off downstairs. So, you turn to your bedroom’s Nest speaker and instruct Google to “turn off the timer.” But, nothing. The timer keeps blaring from the kitchen because the upstairs speaker won’t turn it off. For whatever reason, Google smart speakers have a tough time when it comes to turning off timers using speakers you didn’t originally set the timer with. Until this bit of clunky interfacing gets solved via a firmware update, there’s a workaround — although it requires your phone or tablet. Grab your mobile device, open the Google Home app, then tap the device that has an alarm sounding. Next, tap Settings > Device Settings > Alarms and timers. You’ll see a breakdown of all active alarms and timers. Simply tap the X icon for the one that’s sounding to disable the chime. One convenient feature of Apple’s smart ecosystem is the ability to instantly send audio from your iPhone to your HomePod. It’s a function called Handoff that makes it easy to begin work on one Apple device and then seamlessly transfer it to another. In terms of smart speakers, Handoff allows you to start listening to a song or podcast on your iPhone. After initiating the Handoff command, your phone sends the track to your HomePod. It’s quick and easy, but guess what? It doesn’t always work. While there’s no specific bug attached to this problem, many users have experienced this issue the most when using older iPhone models. The iPhone 11 and up tend to be the safe bet when it comes to Apple hardware and features running smoothly, especially with cross-device communication functions like Handoff. If you know a friend or family member who uses an iPhone 11, and you’ve got an older iPhone, get them set up on your Apple ecosystem and see if they experience the same issues with Handoff. If all else fails, you can always check the Apple Home app to see if there are any software updates to perform. Sometimes a quick Apple-branded patch is all your hardware needs. Here’s one parting thought. There are multiple reasons why our smart speakers betray us now and then. But, as the mightier, sentient beings that we are, we hold ultimate power over our devices. We plugged them into this world, which means we can unplug them. In all seriousness, if none of our suggested fixes do the trick, sometimes all your smart speaker really needs is a hard reset. Disconnect the speaker from whatever outlet it’s connected to, wait about 10 seconds, then plug it back in. Wait for it to pair to your network again and cross your fingers that when your speaker is back online, it stops misbehaving.

 

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Ubisoft joins Aleph.im as decentralized storage and computing network operator

Aleph.im, a cross-blockchain decentralized storage and computing network, said that video game giant Ubisoft has agreed to run a core channel node on Aleph.im, furthering the development of the decentralized network. Aleph.im is using blockchain, the secure and transparent digital ledger, to deliver new kinds of services. But since blockchain requires a lot of computers to ensure the digital security of a stored item, it takes a lot of network of providers to lend their computing power for that purpose. Getting Ubisoft to assist with that job is an important milestone, said Jonathan Schemoul, CEO of Aleph.im, in an interview with GamesBeat. Many of today’s decentralized applications and cryptocurrency protocols still run on partially centralized components in their infrastructure, and nearly 70% of Ethereum nodes run on cloud services. Aleph.im aims to solve this problem by providing decentralized databases, computation, and a decentralized identification (DID) framework that allows decentralized apps (DApps) and protocols to shed centralized parts of their stack. Core channel nodes are used to power the aleph.im network. Ubisoft is an ally in part because Aleph.im is part of Ubisoft’s Paris-based Entrepreneurs Lab program, along with 10 other startups in a 10-month program, Schemoul said. Ubisoft is running a core channel node, UbiStrat Lab, that validates and manages the aleph.im network. Adding this node further expands aleph.im’s capacity and propels the network to higher levels of decentralization. Schemoul said the mission is to make decentralized apps a reality, and it is encouraging to have such a successful business getting behind Aleph.im’s vision of creating the next generation of cloud services that will be open source and trustless. “We will have computing clusters in which applications can be spawned at request for the user,” Schemoul said. “Let’s say for the decentralized finance ecosystem, a lot of DeFi apps have centralized backends. With our solution, they can fully decentralize it.” The core chain and nodes serve as the controller of the network, verifying that the resource nodes are doing the job of storing data, providing commuting, and verifying how the nodes are behaving. Schemoul said that the system is environmentally sustainable as it uses “proof of stake” for validation, rather than “proof of work” as Ethereum and Bitcoin use. Didier Genevois, blockchain tech director at Ubisoft, said in a statement that Ubisoft is happy to play a part, as it believes that blockchain holds a key to the future of the videogame industry, bringing new possibilities for players and developers alike. Beyond nonfungible tokens (NFTs, which can authenticate unique digital items) themselves, the decentralized storage of the metadata appears to Ubisoft as a determining factor in fulfilling the whole promise of true ownership. In this perspective, the exploration of the services offered by the Aleph.im decentralized network is particularly promising, Genevois said. Ubisoft has been exploring blockchain technology through its Entrepreneurs Lab program and its Strategic Innovation Lab, whose mission is to anticipate the future and to help Ubisoft get ready for it by exploring the opportunities offered by innovative technologies. This sixth season of the program focuses on the collaboration with entrepreneurs in the blockchain and positive entertainment spaces to drive the future of entertainment. “I’m really bullish on decentralized finance, as I think that it’s a market that isn’t really understood,” Genevois said. Schemoul said he got into blockchain in 2010 and 2011, but sadly he didn’t buy any Bitcoin at the time. “When I arrived in the blockchain world, I saw a lot of things being developed. It was some kind of brave new world,” he said. “That’s how I got into it, and I went down the rabbit hole.” Aleph.im started in 2018, when Schemoul realized a missing link was needed to make big decentralized applications. “Let’s say if you wanted to make something big like Facebook or Twitter into a decentralized application — you couldn’t do it back then,” Schemoul said. “So we started working on that at the time as it was some kind of missing link in the ecosystem. And we weren’t able to make big applications without it. So the rest of the project started like that.” The company focused on things like centralized storage for files and databases, and decentralized computing. Schemoul said he couldn’t say exactly why Ubisoft is interested in using blockchain for games, but this isn’t the only blockchain effort that Ubisoft is supporting. Aleph.im has about 20 employees, but not all of those are full timers.

 

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0.2
Anticipating disruptions from China and NVIDIA

The personal technology market is overdue for change; two vectors to watch are NVIDIA’s ARM acquisition and the forced cutoff of technology-sharing with China. Both moves are inherently disruptive in and of themselves tactically, but strategically the implications are far more significant. Let’s look at each in turn. ARM has primarily lived on smartphones, tablets, and a host of growing IoT devices. It is increasingly favored as an architecture due to its collaborative nature. Intel is countering with a licensing strategy, but given the more collaborative nature of ARM founding much of the interest, that will likely be an inadequate response. With NVIDIA’s acquisition, ARM will quickly move from the low power side of market opportunity to mainstream and even performance segments with new configurations and designs. These new offerings will increasingly embrace NVIDIA’s Omniverse strategy, which focuses on creating a standard surrounding mixed reality that could eclipse Windows as a global platform — albeit tightly tied to various Cloud providers where much of the competition will emerge. This effort will likely create a cloud/device synergy we have not yet seen because it is being conceived during the market’s cloud pivot. This pivot will disrupt where applications run and how people get access to them as the cloud continues to evolve into the universal back end for much of what we currently do on our devices. I expect this to be a five-year window for change. This change will drive new hardware designs, new human/machine interfaces, and far deeper penetration of increasingly more capable AIs and Virtual environments, with Omniverse forming the core of that virtual effort. Currently, the world technology market primarily revolves around the United States, but manufacturing capacity and economies of scale reside in China. U. S. policies to cut China off from legally obtaining technology rights and limiting the flow of information to China while forcing a decoupling of Chinese manufacturing resources are putting the country against a wall. China, though, still maintains its inherent advantages and has ramped its ability to create technology over the last three decades sharply. Governments, particularly elected governments, tend to act tactically, not considering the long-range implications of policies that too often address the symptoms of a problem and not the problem itself. That appears to be the case in this instance as China will be driven to do what Japan did in the consumer electronics market and more aggressively develop their alternatives to the U. S. technology they no longer access. China represents one of the biggest threats to the current smartphone, PC, cloud status quo and not only could easily transition that state to alternative technology standards but, once economies of scale are reached, could provide relatively inexpensive alternatives to the then more expensive familiar smartphone and PC brands. Finally, Apple’s antitrust troubles with its App Store could force a change in how applications are made available on consumer devices. It has the potential of accelerating this shift in power and platform to China, depending on how much it weakens Apple’s control over its platforms. NVIDIA’s takeover of ARM, coupled with its Omniverse strategy, promises to massively disrupt not only where our processing power resides but the very nature of what we do. The goal is to digitize the world and create a virtual environment that, if successful, redefines how we compute and meet, interact, and collaborate. Meanwhile, U. S. policy is forcing China to focus the country on creating alternatives to U. S.-driven platforms to remain relevant in the technology space and keep their factories operating at profitable levels. Once economies of scale and quality levels are achieved, which should happen relatively quickly, these products should break out of the country with cost and price advantages due to China’s unique control of rare earth metals and traditional manufacturing cost advantages. These anticipated trends have a high potential to result in a pivot of market control from the U. S. to China. Individually, these two coming pivots are significant; together, they signal a level of market disruption we haven’t seen in decades, and are expected to hit in the 2024 to 2026 timeframe. Developers should monitor both activities — become familiar with NVIDIA Omniverse, and begin to develop a strategy that anticipates a China technology pivot as a hedge against this uncertain but undoubtedly disruptive future.

 

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0.8
Verizon brings spatial audio to more phones with its new Adaptive Sound feature

Verizon has announced a new audio feature, called Verizon Adaptive Sound, that brings spatial audio support to more phones. The carrier is rolling it out with the new Motorola One 5G UW Ace, with more phones to follow soon. The new Motorola One 5G UW Ace is an upgraded version of the Motorola One 5G from last year. It supports Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network that’s available in more than 70 cities across the US. The phone packs a 6.7-inch FHD+ LCD panel, a 48MP quad-camera system, a Snapdragon 750G chip, and a 5,000mAh battery. It’s the first phone in the market to support Verizon Adaptive Sound, but the carrier has already started rolling out the feature to other supported Motorola handsets, like the Motorola Edge Plus, via an OTA update. Verizon Adaptive Sound is integrated into the settings menu on supported devices. It offers a selection of sliders to help you customize the bass, treble, voice enhancement, and spatial surround sound as per your preference. According to the carrier, the feature “uses an innovative software and cloud-based solution to provide customers with an upgraded, premium sound experience across all of their content and listening devices.” Unlike the spatial audio feature offered by other companies, Verizon’s solution works with any device, application, and type of content. It’s not limited to any output device or content type. If you’re interested in giving the feature a go, you can either get your hands on a new Motorola One 5G UW Ace on Verizon’s website, or you can wait for the carrier to roll it out to more phones in the coming months. The Motorola One 5G UW is available for $12.49 a month for 24 months on Verizon Device Payment, and you also it get it for free if you sign up for a new premium unlimited plan. For more details, check out the official announcement here.

 

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0.5
Google Cloud rolls out ActivStat for real-time match stats for Call of Duty League fans

Google Cloud is rolling out ActivStat, a set of real-time stats for fans of the Call of Duty League. The stats will help esports fans understand what’s happening in fast-moving matches and details such as who is likely to win a match in progress. Millions of fans have been watching the CDL online, particularly since it was forced last year to switch to online-only events due to the pandemic. And ActivStat brings fans, players, and commentators competitive statistics in real time. Using ActivStat, live broadcasts will soon be enhanced with more depth and color-of-play while they’re happening, building excitement and adding to the overall experience, said Rob Martin, chief architect at Google Cloud for Games, in an interview with GamesBeat. “The team at Google implemented Activision’s vision for this new offering in esports,” Martin said. “The first thing that we implemented is a real-time data pipeline. As the competitors are engaging in matches, there are literally hundreds of different metrics and statistics that are being captured and presented in real time. So there’s a real time data pipeline, making the data available within milliseconds or seconds.” Technically, ActivStat is an entirely new capability for esports. It’s a constantly updating catalog of statistics that is sourced, analyzed, updated, and delivered in an easy-to-consume way across global-scale computing systems, with a latency of milliseconds or seconds rather than minutes or hours. By comparison, many of these stats today are available to fans after a day or more of processing. “We’re incredibly excited to be working with Google Cloud business, and ActivStat is going to be incredible for our fans, for our community, for our players, and for the viewer experience,” said Jack Harari, head of brand partnerships at Activision Blizzard, in an interview with GamesBeat. Call of Duty League plans to begin rolling out ActivStat during the 2021 season. The initial rollout will include critical information like player and team standings and winning ratios across multiple aspects of virtual combat — including ultimately what these numbers mean for rankings. ActivStats are delivered both in raw statistics and via visualizations and graphics, providing commentators with fast access to the types of insights fans crave. The Call of Duty League also announced that Major V, the next big tournament, will take place in-person at the Esports Stadium Arlington in Arlington, Texas. (During the pandemic, most of the CDL players moved to the Dallas area to get the best ping, or online interaction speeds.) The Major V will take place July 29 to August 1, while the playoffs and championship weekend will take place August 19 to August 22. The latter event will also take place in person. Google and Activision Blizzard signed a sponsorship with Call of Duty last February, and they set up a Google Cloud partnership in January. So the teams have been working hard since that time to incorporate high-speed networking, data pipelines from multiple cloud sources, and data warehousing to create a user-friendly dashboard. Real data was flowing into commentator dashboards by April. “Our first consumer of the data is the live commentators. Their color commentary is being enhanced in real time as the match is occurring, and really enabling them to surface more interesting insights and more quantitative analyses about the action that’s happening on the field,” Martin said. “We’ll be expanding in the future to drive real-time metrics directly into the live broadcast.” Esports can be much more complex to cover in many ways than regular sports. Instead of a well-defined physical playing field (often a simple rectangular space), multiplayer games involve complex and sprawling virtual environments that can be the size of a large campus, such as an airport with multiple levels and hidden locations. Gameplay between competitors happens across many of these locations simultaneously. In addition, competitors also each choose their own configurations of equipment, known as “loadouts,” which can dramatically affect gameplay and strategy. All of this additional complexity in online gaming involves data that needs to be captured, analyzed, and communicated to the fans in insightful ways. (When I play Call of Duty: Warzone, I’d love to know how successful other players have been with my exact loadout.) Two Google Cloud technology capabilities play central roles in the operations of ActivStat. BigQuery — a planet-scale data warehouse that can store and query petabytes of information in real time — is the foundation of the ActivStat platform for gathering and summarizing millisecond-level statistics. Looker, an intuitive analytic dashboard, surfaces those insights to commentators in an easy-to-use, real-time dashboard that enables the commentators to speak to compelling insights and statistics in sync with the gameplay as it is happening in the live broadcast. While the initial release of ActivStat for this season of Call of Duty League provides compelling and powerful capabilities, it’s only the beginning. The esports matches are run on local servers in the competitive arenas. Google Cloud needs to transport the metrics that are happening tens of times per second within these matches to a centralized data warehouse, Martin said. Within milliseconds, a message has to leave the servers in the arena, it has to travel across the internet, to a global message bus, and reach the Google Cloud. And then Google servers have to ingest and transform that data into the data warehouse in less than a second. The ActivStat tech will be able to shed light on overall team performance as well as individual metrics that would otherwise be only available after the event was over. It could calculate the odds of a single surviving player beating the other team’s four players in the rest of the match. “Sometimes you get those sort of one in a million events that happen,” Martin said. “And those are really exciting for the fans. And so helping the commentators to quantify those types of events is super interesting for the fans.” In the future, the engineers want to be able to display gameplay hotspots on the field and use that information in a “heat map,” Harari said. And that could influence where to place cameras using machine learning, Martin said. That enables broadcast producers to build excitement for fans by always being in the middle of the best action. Call of Duty League and Google will also look to drive statistics and metrics directly into the broadcast feed. The implications of the real-time statistical capabilities of ActivStat go beyond gaming and esports. Historically, gaming has been at the leading edge of what computer processing, computer graphics, wide-area networking, data analysis, and insight can do. The real-time data ingestion and output used in ActivStat could one day be useful powering live broadcasts in other types of sporting events, as well as blending live video feeds and data to support use cases in health care, finance, manufacturing, and other verticals, Martin said. The ActivStat agreement is part of a multi-year strategic relationship to power new player experiences, said Harari. Google Cloud handles game hosting infrastructure while YouTube is the exclusive streaming partner worldwide — except for China, where Google doesn’t operate — for the Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Esports, and more.

 

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0.2
Coursera API vulnerabilities disclosed by researchers

A set of API vulnerabilities in the Coursera platform has been disclosed by researchers. On Thursday, Checkmarx security researcher Paulo Silva revealed the discovery of multiple security failings in the Coursera online learning platform, which caters to millions of learners, both at home and in the enterprise. The company collaborates with over 200 universities and companies including Stanford University, Duke University, AWS, Google, Cisco, and IBM. Courses on offer range from degrees in the STEM field to shorter classes in health, the humanities, and languages. Silva says that Checkmarx decided to investigate Coursera's security posture due to the increased popularity of remote and on-demand learning prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the organization's Vulnerability Disclosure Program, launched in 2015. The researchers focused on access control, a security point mentioned in the program as an in-scope issue: accessing data you are not authorized to, that of other learners, or being able to tap into internal, backend administrative systems. Checkmarx found multiple API problems, including an enumeration via password reset function error, resource limitations relating to both a GraphQL and a REST API, and a GraphQL misconfiguration. However, the main issue of note was a Broken Object Level Authorization ( BOLA) security flaw, considered by OWASP to be a major threat due to the ease of exploitation. BOLA flaws in APIs may expose endpoints that handle object identifiers, potentially opening the door to wider attacks. The BOLA vulnerability that was found related to preferences stored in learner accounts. Anonymous users could retrieve this information, as well as change them -- and in addition, some user metadata was also leaked. "Authorization issues are, unfortunately, quite common with APIs," the researchers say. "It is very important to centralize access control validations in a single, well and continuously tested and actively maintained component. New API endpoints, or changes to the existing ones, should be carefully reviewed regarding their security requirements." Checkmarx reported its findings to Coursera on October 5,2020, and the e-learning provider began to triage the report on October 26. By December 18, a partial patch was issued, but an additional "issue" required re-tests, delaying the confirmation of fixes until May 24. Despite delays in fully resolving the vulnerabilities, the researchers say that Coursera took "prompt ownership" of the API bugs, once reported. "The privacy and security of learners on Coursera is a top priority," Coursera told ZDNet. "We're grateful to Checkmarx for bringing the low-risk API-related issues to the attention of our security team last year, who were able to promptly address and resolve the issues." Have a tip? Get in touch securely via WhatsApp| Signal at +447713 025 499, or over at Keybase: charlie0

 

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Plugable launches USBC-HUB7BC 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub

USB-A ports used to be ubiquitous, but nowadays, they are becoming less common. Make no mistake, USB-A isn't disappearing anytime soon, but fewer laptops are coming with the ports. Instead, many notebooks come with USB-C only these days. And if a laptop does come with USB-A, it may only be one or two ports at most. Thankfully, one of the best things about USB is the ability to utilize hubs -- you can turn one USB port into several. Today, Plugable launches its latest powered hub, and it is designed for both data and charging. Called "USBC-HUB7BC," it can convert either a USB-A or USB-C port into seven USB-A ports. If you need more than seven USB 3.0 5Gbps ports, you can use more than one USBC-HUB7BC with one PC -- they are designed to be neatly stacked on top of each other. "Stackable and dual-use, this hub alleviates the problems most often associated with USB hubs–data and charging. Typically, hubs in this space split the duty of data and charging between ports. With the USBC-HUB7BC, consumers get full functionality on every single port. And if data isn't needed, tap into the UL Certified 60W power adapter and use it as a stand-alone charging station," says Plugable. ALSO READ: T-Mobile REVVL V+ 5G Android 11 smartphone costs less than $200 The company further says, "The USBC-HUB7BC comes bundled with a UL Certified power adapter capable of a massive 60 watts at 12V 5A to ensure every device down the line gets as much power as it needs. And thanks to smart charging circuits, each device powers at its own max rate provided by the USB charging spec (up to 2.4A charging). No need to worry about overcharging." The USBC-HUB7BC 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub from Plugable can be purchased from Amazon immediately here. While the normal price is $48.95, for a limited time, you can get an additional $10 off. That's right, it can be yours for less than $39! Please be sure to click the coupon box before adding it to your cart. Please note: Some of the above links may be affiliate links, meaning we, or our writers, may receive payment if you purchase one of these items (or other items) after clicking on them.

 

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0.4
Skype Insider Preview gets support for split windows on Surface Duo

While Teams has been at the center of Microsoft's attention when it comes to online calls for the past year or so - especially during the ongoing pandemic -, Skype still gets updated with new features from time to time, especially in terms of Insider builds. Skype Insider Preview build 8.72.76.44 was released a couple of months ago with support for locking meetings and background blurring on Skype for Web. Today, Insiders have been treated to version 8.74.76.129. The changelog appears to be quite brief but packs a number of interesting features for Skype users. Animated backgrounds in the form of GIFs during video calls are now supported, you just have to select one from your device's local storage. You can customize call reactions and also take advantage of file sharing from chat in Skype for iOS. Additionally, split windows on Android are now supported. This essentially means that hardware like Surface Duo, Samsung DeX, and Chromebooks can now make use of this capability. Microsoft says that the feature has been introduced to give users desktop-like experiences on non-desktop devices. The update will gradually make its way to users over the next few days. If you have not joined the Skype Insider Program yet but are interested to try it out, you can head over to the dedicated webpage here. It's available for a number of platforms including Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, and the Web.

 

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0.3
He owns 150 Macs. Now he's created the one thing Apple fans desperately need

They used to mock so-called Apple fanboys. Samsung, in particular, managed to do it most elegantly in order to turn its brand toward a higher purpose. But, though there may no longer be so many lines of the faithful and mindless outside Apple stores on iPhone launch days, unreasonable Cupertinian devotion still exists. I judge this from the most delightfully deranged, wonderfully composed, and realistically uplifting (for some) idea concocted by Relay FM co-founder Stephen Hackett. On his new Kickstarter site, he freely confesses: "I've got a collection of over 150 Macs, and that's not counting the iPods, iPhones, iPads, and other weird products the company has launched over the years." Some people have wine cellars. Perhaps Hackett has a Mac cellar. Or perhaps a Mac re-cellar. (You're entirely welcome.) His new creation, though, is deeply exalted. It's a 2022 calendar. In his launch video, Hackett explains that despite synching all his events to every device imaginable, "I've really learned over the years the best way to keep my entire household on the same page is a good, old-fashioned wall calendar." You're still not moved? What if I tell you that it's a 2022 wall calendar that "each month highlights some of Apple's hardware announcements over the years." Please imagine the sheer joy of a true Apple devotee rolling into their office and seeing that, on this day, the iMac G4 was revealed. Or the 12- and 17-inch PowerBooks were launched. Yes, both happened on the same day but in different years. And what about February 22? That was the day, in 2001, that the Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power Macs were introduced. Don't think for a moment, though, that this calendar is an abjectly humorless veneration of all things Apple. Why on one of the pages Hackett has displayed there is February 9 and these words: "2018: HomePod (finally) shipped." It's likely, then, that many people cannot live without this calendar and wonder why Apple itself has never thought to create it. Hackett had an especially modest Kickstarter goal of $5000. At the time of writing, he's already amassed over $28,000. What could he possibly do with that extra money? Print the calendars on silk? That's surely what Jony Ive would do.

 

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0.2
OnePlus Nord 2 is confirmed to launch on July 22

There were speculations that OnePlus would launch the OnePlus Nord 2 smartphone in the month of September, but the Shenzhen tech firm has other plans in mind. Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, has recently confirmed the official launch date of the OnePlus Nord 2 to be on July 22. The CEO has made the announcement in a OnePlus forum post, though he hasn’t revealed any details about the smartphone. Luckily, we already have some details about the key specs of the smartphone, thanks to the previous leaks. As we said in one of our previous posts, the OnePlus Nord 2 will be powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI chipset coupled with an 8GB/12GB of RAM. It’s worth noting that Dimensity 1200 AI chipset is different than the regular Dimensity 1200 as the former has some exclusive AI features that cannot be found in the latter. It will feature a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen with a screen resolution of 90 Hz. The smartphone will be available in two storage variants — 128GB and 256GB. Talking about the camera, the Nord 2 will have a triple camera setup at the back — a primary 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor coupled with 8MP and 2MP sensors. For taking selfies, the Nord 2 will use a 32MP front camera. Interestingly enough, OnePlus Nord 2 is settling on the three rear cameras, unlike its predecessor, which has four back cameras. Previous leaks suggest OnePlus Nord 2 will pack a 4,500mAh battery with a charging speed of 30W or 65W and is likely to offer Android 11 out of the box. It’ll be available only in Europe and India.

 

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0.6
How to reduce background noise on a PC using a microphone

Whether you want to improve the quality of your Zoom calls or record your voice for a YouTube video, a podcast or something else, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the best audio from your microphone. There are various ways to do this, from simple tweaks to your environment all the way up to investing in high-quality equipment. We show you a few easy ways to make your vocals sparkle. By far the easiest way to improve your sound quality on video calls is to plug in some headphones to your PC. The main reason for this is that it eliminates the sound of the other people on the call coming out of your speakers and going straight into your microphone and back to everyone listening. This is one reason why you sometimes get echos or 'feedback' on Zoom calls. It's almost impossible to get really good audio when you can hear the garbled voices of other people demanding that ‘Jackie Weaver, you have no authority here’ in the background. Another advantage of using headphones is that many come with built-in microphones, which could be better quality than the one built into your laptop. Along the same lines, you'll also want to cut out any other extraneous noises that might be spoiling your audio. So, make sure that you turn off the TV or radio, close any open windows, ask other family members not to play music loudly or have shouting matches during the call. Also turn off any fans or air conditioning in the room, bribe the dog with a juicy bone and oil your squeaky office chair. If you don't have control over whatever's making noise, consider using an app (for Windows and macOS) such as Krisp. It's free for 'professionals who occasionally work remotely', which means you get 240 minutes of use per week. Let's face it, most microphones and webcams that come as standard in laptops are pretty basic. Adding a dedicated stand-alone microphone can instantly give your audio a huge leap in quality. You don't have to spend hundreds of pounds on professional level microphones to improve your existing setup, as a cheap USB microphone can at least allow you to speak directly into it, which cuts down the natural reverb of the room that you get when talking to your laptop or PC at a distance. We’ve already put together a guide to some of the best microphones for streaming and podcasting, but if you feel they are too expensive, then something like the Ture Plug and Play USB microphone could be a good option, costing £23 on Amazon UK at the time of writing. US customers can opt for the slightly flashier looking EIVOTOR plug & play desktop USB microphone that will set them back $15.99 from Amazon US. One thing to note about more expensive microphones is that they generally come in two types: dynamic and condenser. As a rule of thumb, condensers will give you a richer sounding voice but pick up more background noise, while dynamic mics focus on capturing sounds directly in front of them, so you end up with less white noise but miss some of the ambience in a room. You can get excellent results from both, but you’ll need to consider how loud your environment is when selecting a new microphone. Windows has a few different settings that you can use in windows to adjust the quality of your audio. They are easy to use once, of course, you know where they are. Open the Start menu and search for Control Panel. Select the top result then navigate to Hardware & Sounds > Sound and select the Recording tab. In here you’ll see settings for microphones that are either attached or built-in to your PC. Highlight the one with a tick next to its name, then click the Properties button. Select the Levels tab and check to see how high the input is currently set. An important element is the Microphone Boost which increases the signal strength via software. But, if you have too much volume coming in, it can cause digital distortion that will reduce the quality of your audio. Try adjusting both the Microphone and Microphone Boost settings to see if it improves your results. Ideally you’ll want to raise the level of ‘natural’ signal coming in (via the Microphone option), while reducing the software boosted audio. If you also see a tab entitled Enhancements, then you can explore the setting in here too, paying particular attention to the Noise Suppression option, which can be quite helpful in cleaning up a signal. Hopefully, with all of these tweaks at your disposal, you'll sound loud and clear the next time you fire up your video calling or audio recording software on your PC.

 

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0.5
Constantine on HBO: Everything you need to know

Comic book hero John Constantine has already been adapted into a movie starring Keanu Reeves and a short lived NBC TV show that ran for a season back in 2014. Now, HBO is rebooting the franchise for its streaming service HBO Max, with a new series that may finally capture the dark majesty of the DC Comics star. Here’s all we know so far about Constantine.

 

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0.0
An unbelievable number of people can still break into old work accounts

Many businesses are not doing enough to control access to work-related accounts, despite the distinct threat posed by insiders, new data suggests. According to a report from authentication firm Beyond Identity, almost a quarter of people still have access to accounts from previous jobs, exposing companies to data theft and sabotage by disgruntled ex-employees. Based on a poll of 1,000 workers, the report also highlights dangers associated with password sharing, which is commonplace across many businesses. Of those surveyed, just under half (41.7%) admitted to sharing workplace passwords with either co-workers, contractors, or family and friends. Data shared exclusively with TechRadar Pro shows that password sharing goes on most frequently among employees in management positions, many of whom are likely to have access to a significant quantity of sensitive corporate data. Ironically, employees of this type were also most likely to say that password sharing should be made a sackable offence, highlighting a wilful disregard for password best practices. The reason for poor password hygiene almost always comes down to convenience, with under-pressure employees seeking ways to streamline workflows and avoid friction associated with measures such as two-factor authentication. Almost half of respondents said that strict password policies have a direct impact on productivity and, for this reason, one in ten rarely or never change their passwords (with the rate rising to 20% among small companies). Many employees also use a single universal password across work and personal accounts, increasing the risks associated with credential stuffing attacks, should credentials be exposed in a third-party data breach. To rectify the issue, Beyond Identity has called on businesses to abandon the password forever, in favor of alternative authentication methods that are not detrimental to productivity, nor vulnerable to abuse. "While companies do all they can to protect against the threat of cyber attacks and data breaches, they may never truly be safe without passwordless authentication. Good password hygiene hinders good product usability by causing friction during the login process. Even when businesses implement strict password policies, they can be undermined by lax password habits among employees,” explain Jasson Casey, Beyond Identity CTO. “Reusing work passwords for personal accounts, sharing passwords among colleagues, former employees maintaining access to their credentials, and infrequently changing passwords are just some of the ways in which requiring employees to use passwords may be leaving employers’ data vulnerable."

 

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0.3
Jellysmack hits 10B monthly views and more than 200 creators

Global creator company Jellysmack has added more than 200 creators to its program of internet personalities. And the company said its owned network of video channels has more than 10 billion monthly users now. During the second quarter, the Los Angeles company added 80 new personalities to its creator program, and that was the highest number of additions in any quarter so far. The company in May got a third round of investment from SoftBank, which catapulted the company to unicorn status, meaning it is valued at more than $1 billion. Combined Jellysmack-managed content boasts 10 billion global monthly video views and a cross-platform reach of 125 million unique U. S. users, reaching nearly 45% of all Americans. These are the views of Jellysmack’s owned and operated networks. Among the new additions are 2020 YouTuber of the Year MrBeast (who has 62.7 million YouTube subscribers), parody DIYer How to Basic (16.5 million YouTube subscribers), news commentator Philip DeFranco (6.3 million YouTube subscribers), and makeup guru Patrick Starrr (4.38 million YouTube subscribers) and others. There’s a reason they’re signing up, said Jeff Olson, head of creator partnerships at Jellysmack, in an interview with GamesBeat. Jellysmack simplifies the creation and distribution of a creator’s content and gets it to as many platforms as possible in the right format. These are things that individual creators don’t have time or staff for, but they can make a big difference in the overall audience, Olson said. “My job is to identify and get in contact, and then negotiate our deals with our creators to ensure that they’re sort of set up for success,” Olson said. “Then we just start distributing their content and help build their business further. We amplify them.” The creator program uses Jellysmack’s proprietary AI technology to bring a video creator’s existing content to a wide range of social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube—expanding their audience and generating incremental revenue. In addition, certain creators enlisted Jellysmack’s support deals where the company edits raw video footage and then optimizes and distributes it across all the major social media platforms. And they get to the flaw in the business of most creators. “Most creators have a predisposition to distribute their content on one or two platforms,” said Olson. “And we believe that creators need to build a multiplatform presence in order to truly build their brand, build their audience, and fully maximize their business. And with that success comes all the other deals that their agents and representatives can get them. When your audience is bigger across multiple platforms, suddenly you’re a social media star.” The first partner who signed on in 2019 with Olson used to have no followers on Facebook. Now that creator has more than seven million followers on that platform. Sometimes there are 40 people working on a creator’s account at any given time, across acquisition, editing, community management, content strategy, graphic designers, and other functions. “We have technology that a lot of technology allows us to do things at scale, or highly efficient, or tap into significant amounts of data that we have from so many creators we work with,” he said. “And we have data from the content we’ve uploaded for years on our own channels, and we adapt that data into actionable things we can do.” That involves selecting the right video to post at the right time on the right platform, after doing multiple edits, thumbnails, and different titles that can all be tested. “We could test 20 or 30 different combinations of a video,” he said. “Our test will come bach saying what is optimal.” But Olson noted that the company isn’t an agency, which finds brand partners for creators. It uses technology to help them analyze and grow their audiences, almost like user acquisition. “We call ourselves the global creator company. That’s how we think of ourselves,” Olson said. “Our our whole mission is to partner with creators, and we can help get their content out to the right audiences. And we use tech to do that. Our core DNA is technology.” The company has built its audiences across a variety of markets, but gaming is one where it could make more headway. The Q2 creator program additions boast a combined total of over 207 million YouTube subscribers. In addition to these established creators who already boast millions of followers, the Q2 partners list also includes up-and-comers, some with as few as 2,500 YouTube followers at signing, Olson said. In gaming circles, it counts PewDiePie among its clients. Jellysmack is also expanding overseas. The company’s Q2 creators are based in nine different countries around the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The creators represent numerous content genres including art, gaming, automotive, family and parenting, pranks, reaction and more. Jellysmack also rolled out a new media partner program this past quarter, marking the first time it is optimizing and operating social media content for a brand partner, as opposed to an individual creator or its owned and operated channels. Mixed martial arts media brand Combate Global, one of the fastest growing sports franchises in North America, was the first to join. Lastly, Jellysmack also announced entry into the rapidly growing blockchain world in Q2 with the addition of Nathan Guetta as vice president of cryptocurrency. Guetta will develop the company’s strategy to add NFTs and other blockchain products to its offering, making them available to anyone in the Creator Program. The goal is to help creators strengthen their relationships with fans and launch new revenue streams. Cofounded in 2016 by Michael Philippe, Robin Sabban, and Swann Maizil, Jellysmack is a global creator company that detects and develops the world’s talented video creators through technology. The company’s proprietary data and video optimization tools drive social audience growth, unlocking new revenue streams and amplifying monetization. It’s a business created by technology, and one that I wouldn’t have predicted a decade ago. Chalk it up to people using technology to invent new careers, just like the creators they support.

 

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0.3
Pokemon Go 5th Anniversary Event only Exists to Drain Resources Before the Go Fest 2021

You may have noticed that recently some Pokemon are getting harder and harder to catch. Some players think that this is due to the upcoming GO Fest. Many think that draining their Pokeballs is Niantic’s way of making players purchase balls for the GO Fest, and if you think about it, is quite logical, and it supports the complaints from players that the game is becoming more pay to win. This month’s Spotlight Hour Pokemon are the ones that made us fall in love with the Pokemon series in the first place, which of course will make us want to spend every PokeBall catching them. It was Bulbasaur a few days ago, next on the agenda are Charmander and Squirtle, and Natu will be the Pokemon that will close July’s Spotlight Hour events. This theory first appeared on Reddit, and what caught our eye was a post that the Reddit user u/xclusivestylesz made. They said that they spend an absurd amount of time and 15 balls just to catch a Treeko, a Pokemon that was on the “easily caught Pokemon” list. The new Research task is also a draining source, a source that gives you 80 PokeBalls after completion, even though you spend more than 100 Pokeballs. It is overwhelming how many events we have had these past two months and we wish Niantic would listen to us and slow down. Do you support this? Did you spend an insane amount of PokeBalls these past few days? Comment down below.

 

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0.2
Why social media design makes it hard to have constructive disagreements online

July 8,2021 Good-faith disagreements are a normal part of society and building strong relationships. Yet it's difficult to engage in good-faith disagreements on the internet, and people reach less common ground online compared with face-to-face disagreements. There's no shortage of research about the psychology of arguing online, from text versus voice to how anyone can become a troll and advice about how to argue well. But there's another factor that's often overlooked: the design of social media itself. My colleagues and I investigated how the design of social media affects online disagreements and how to design for constructive arguments. We surveyed and interviewed 257 people about their experiences with online arguments and how design could help. We asked which features of 10 different social media platforms made it easy or difficult to engage in online arguments, and why. (Full disclosure: I receive research funding from Facebook.) We found that people often avoid discussing challenging topics online for fear of harming their relationships, and when it comes to disagreements, not all social media are the same. People can spend a lot of time on a social media site and not engage in arguments (e.g. YouTube) or find it nearly impossible to avoid arguments on certain platforms (e.g. Facebook and WhatsApp). Here's what people told us about their experiences with Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube, which were the most and least common places for online arguments. Facebook Seventy percent of our participants had engaged in a Facebook argument, and many spoke negatively of the experience. People said they felt it was hard to be vulnerable because they had an audience: the rest of their Facebook friends. One participant said, on Facebook, "Sometimes you don't admit your failures because other people are looking." Disagreements became sparring matches with a captive audience, rather than two or more people trying to express their views and find common ground. People also said that the way Facebook structures commenting prevents meaningful engagement because many comments are automatically hidden and cut shorter. This prevents people from seeing content and participating in the discussion at all. WhatsApp In contrast, people said arguing on a private messaging platform such as WhatsApp allowed them "to be honest and have an honest conversation." It was a popular place for online arguments, with 76% of our participants saying that they had argued on the platform. The organization of messages also allowed people to "keep the focus on the discussion at hand." And, unlike the experience with face-to-face conversations, someone receiving a message on WhatsApp could choose when to respond. People said that this helped online dialogue because they had more time to think out their responses and take a step back from the emotional charge of the situation. However, sometimes this turned into too much time between messages, and people said they felt that they were being ignored. Overall, our participants felt the privacy they had on WhatsApp was necessary for vulnerability and authenticity online, with significantly more people agreeing that they could talk about controversial topics on private platforms as opposed to public ones like Facebook. YouTube Very few people reported engaging in arguments on YouTube, and their opinions of YouTube depended on which feature they used. When commenting, people said they "may write something controversial and nobody will reply to it," which makes the site "feel more like leaving a review than having a conversation." Users felt they could have disagreements in the live chat of a video, with the caveat that the channel didn't moderate the discussion. Unlike Facebook and WhatsApp, YouTube is centered around video content. Users liked "the fact that one particular video can be focused on, without having to defend, a whole issue," and that "you can make long videos to really explain yourself." They also liked that videos facilitate more social cues than is possible in most online interactions, since "you can see the person's facial expressions on the videos they produce." YouTube's platform-wide moderation had mixed reviews, as some people felt they could "comment freely without persecution" and others said videos were removed at YouTube's discretion "usually [for] a ridiculous or nonsensical reason." People also felt that when creators moderated their comments and "just filter things they don't like," it hindered people's ability to have difficult discussions. Redesigning social media for better arguing We asked participants how proposed design interactions could improve their experiences arguing online. We showed them storyboards of features that could be added to social media. We found that people like some features that are already present in social media, like the ability to delete inflammatory content, block users who derail conversations and use emoji to convey emotions in text. People were also enthusiastic about an intervention that helps users to "channel switch" from a public to private online space. This involves an app intervening in an argument on a public post and suggesting users move to a private chat. One person said "this way, people don't get annoyed and included in online discussion that doesn't really involve them." Another said, "this would save a lot of people embarrassment from arguing in public." Intervene, but carefully Overall, the people we interviewed were cautiously optimistic about the potential for design to improve the tone of online arguments. They were hopeful that design could help them find more common ground with others online. Yet, people are also wary of technology's potential to become intrusive during an already sensitive interpersonal exchange. For instance, a well-intentioned but naïve intervention could backfire and come across as "creepy" and "too much." One of our interventions involved a forced 30-second timeout, designed to give people time to cool off before responding. However, our subjects thought it could end up frustrating people further and derail the conversation. Social media developers can take steps to foster constructive disagreements online through design. But our findings suggest that they also will need to consider how their interventions might backfire, intrude or otherwise have unintended consequences for their users. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. 23 hours ago 0 Jul 06,2021 0 Jul 06,2021 0 Jul 05,2021 0 Jul 05,2021 0 4 hours ago 17 hours ago 18 hours ago 21 hours ago 21 hours ago 21 hours ago 23 hours ago Apr 19,2021 Mar 19,2021 May 11,2021 Jul 31,2020 Apr 19,2021 Nov 05,2020 Jul 05,2021 Jun 28,2021 Jun 25,2021 Jun 24,2021 Jun 09,2021 Jun 09,2021

 

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0.6
What is QLED? Samsung's quantum dot TV tech explained

What is a QLED TV? It's normal to feel overwhelmed by the latest TV tech. There's already a lot to remember and shiny new features with confusing new names are announced every other week. We don’t think you need to know what every acronym stands for. Although we do think it’s worth getting your head around QLED. Because you’re likely to come across it if you’re looking for a new TV – especially if you’re in the market for a new Samsung TV. The main thing you really need to know is that QLED is a type of LCD panel technology. It’s fundamentally a difference of degree, rather than kind, from most of the other televisions that out there right now. However, despite the similar letters, it is not the same as OLED – and we have a whole OLED vs QLED guide that gives you a detailed breakdown of the main distinctions between the two if you’re struggling to choose one or the other. The important (and fairly uncommon) thing you need to know about QLED is it’s a proprietary panel technology that’s developed mostly for the best Samsung TVs. Confusingly, though, you will find that the ‘QLED’ label is used by a few other TV brands, too, including TCL and Hisense. However, most of the QLED TVs out there are made and sold by Samsung. QLED panel tech is also used inside some of Samsung’s 8K TVs, too, including the Samsung Q800T and the Q950TS. However, most of the QLEDs available on the market today are still 4K TVs. Now we know more about what QLED is on the surface, how does it work? How will it upgrade your entertainment experience? And is it worth investing in a QLED TV? Below you'll find everything you need to know about QLED technology, how it differs from other panel types out there, and whether it's really the right choice for you. Literally, QLED is an acronym for 'quantum dot light-emitting diode'. (That's not to be confused with OLED, which refers to 'organic light emitting diode', and is a competing display technology we won't go into detail on here.) So what is a quantum dot light-emitting diode – or QLED – display, compared to a regular LCD television? This Samsung concept is basically just the latest set of enhancements to the same quantum dot technology that the company has been working on for the past few years. Technically speaking, Samsung's QLED TVs are not QLED at all, well, at least in the way that we understand the term. A 'proper' quantum light-emitting diode element emits its own light – the clue is in the name – whereas Samsung's latest TVs use a separate LCD backlight (often an edge-lit backlight, at that) just like any other LED-LCD TV. So the QLED moniker could be taken more as branding than a truly 'quantum leap' for TV panel technology. QLED TVs do, however, use a metallic quantum dot filter to enhance both the color and contrast of the screen. What this means is the capabilities of HDR and 4K images are significantly boosted compared to other non-quantum dot LCD-LEDs. QLED TV models also include Samsung's Bixby virtual assistant, as well as an Ambient Mode, which helps them blend into their surroundings a little better. As of 2021, Samsung is changing its QLED branding to 'Neo QLED', to represent substantive changes to its QLED range. The main difference is the introduction of a MiniLED backlight, packing in ten times the usual amount of LEDs for ramped up brightness, wider viewing angles, and reduced blooming – ensuring light is directed only where it's meant to be. The result? 100% color volume of DCI-P3, plus better local dimming. When asked about which specs would make the transition to Neo QLED, Dan Schinasi Director of Product Planning at Samsung said “Yes to HDMI 2.1. Yes to 4K at 120Hz. Yes to VRR. Yes to FreeSync Premium… Yes to everything.” You can check out our hands-on reviews of the Samsung Neo QN900 8K QLED, and the Samsung Neo QN800 for a taste of what's new in this year's range – and know that the term covers both 4K and 8K TVs. A new report from Korea IT News (via CNET) claims that Samsung could make the move to OLED – or at least a kind of OLED – as soon as next year. Does this mean the brand is doing away with QLED? Not exactly. The report builds on years of rumors that Samsung was developing a 'QD-OLED' hybrid screen, which would combine an OLED TV panel with the quantum dot technology underpinning Samsung's popular QLED range. QD-OLED is said to use a self-emissive OLED panel to emit blue light, as well as a quantum dot filter to convert this light into other colors – bypassing the need for a backlight, because the OLED panel acts as its own light sources, but still utilising QLED tech to enhance contrast. The exact effect, or level of picture quality, though, is yet to be seen, but it's expected to allow for higher brightness and even wider color gamuts compared to traditional OLED. There are no official models or public timelines for Samsung debuting the technology, but the report matches up with what market analysts said last year – with Omdia predicting that mass production for Samsung's QD-OLED sets would start in late 2021, for a 2022 release. So, to start, all QLED TVs have a quantum dot filter. It’s a film of tiny crystal semi-conductor particles that can be precisely controlled for their color output, which replace the red, green and blue color filters that old TVs used. This filter now also uses an aluminum compound to help make the dots more efficient (and therefore brighter) and more effective at passing pass light through, which creates wider and more accurate color. Samsung says that its QLED TVs use the new filters to display 100% coverage of the DCI/P3 color space (read: much deeper black levels and sparkling HDR), and maintain that performance whatever the brightness. They’re so bright, in fact, that Samsung's QLED TVs can manage up to 4000 nits peak brightness on its most premium sets. Considering 1000 nits is needed to produce HDR, that's very bright, and far above the sub-1000 nit levels found on OLED TVs. New advances in pixel panel structure also means that 2019 models and later are far better for off-axis viewing. For a living room environment, that could be QLED's big selling point. Beyond the 'paradigm shift' hyperbole of Samsung's marketing, it's really important to understand that QLED isn't really anything new at all. In fact, it's really nothing more than the latest – possibly among the last technically possible – tweaks to existing LED-LCD technology that's dominated big screen TVs for the last decade. QLED's innovations – deeper blacks, better colors and wider viewing angles – tackle three traditional problems of LED and LCD technology, but they're the same problems that are addressed year in, year out by TV makers. Only upcoming reviews will reveal if, in fact, QLED is a significant step forward from traditional LED-LCD screens – but chances are good that we'll see some real improvements in these areas with Samsung's new sets. Perhaps a more important comparison is QLED vs OLED. The latter uses pixels that emit their own light, but OLED displays are manufactured only by Samsung's arch-rival LG, and now used by Sony, Philips and Panasonic, too. There's no doubt that QLED, for now, has an advantage in terms of brightness (so in theory may better handle HDR content – though might just as easily overcook it), but if you're looking for a 'paradigm shift' in picture quality and the next-gen display technology, OLED is still the frontrunner. The latter uses individually lit pixels to achieve better contrast ratio and richer blacks that LED-LCD will never be able to hit, quantum dot filter or no. You can see the best of the bunch in our best OLED TVs roundup too. Samsung's new Neo QLED range could balance the scales a bit, with improved brightness control and viewing angles, but we'll have to wait until we've tested the sets thoroughly to say for sure. QLED and SUHD are essentially the same thing; the new messaging is more about marketing than technology, although the jump from 1000 nits on the top-end SUHD TVs to 1,500 to 2,000 nits on the flagship QLED TVs – back in 2017, when Samsung started using the term – is perhaps more revolutionary than it seems at first. Put simply, for a buying public still getting to grips with what UHD is, SUHD just proved too confusing, so Samsung has dropped it. (It also probably didn't help that the 'S' in SUHD didn't really mean anything... although we're not convinced that QLED is much clearer.) Unlike OLED, which has a starting price of around $1,300 / £1,300 for its cheapest models, QLED caters to a host of price points, starting with the very cheap Q60T series. The Q60T currently retails at just $540 / £540 for its smallest 43-inch size. Above that, you have the Q70T, Q80T, Q90T, and Q95T – with progressively higher price points for each increase in specification. Above that, of course, you have 8K models, with the UK-only Q700T starting at just £1,999, and the Q800TS, Q900TS, and Q950TS sitting above that. At the very top, you can buy the largest 82-inch / 85-inch sizes of the Q950TS for $12,999 / £11,999 respectively. Samsung itself has given a likely time frame for its QLED televisions, saying that you can expect a QLED TV to last you roughly 7-10 years before you start to see some sort of visual degradation – while stressing that includes the heavier use expected from smart TV s these days. In this blog post, Samsung says that "On average, based on typical use, consumers should expect their TV’s picture quality to remain roughly the same for anywhere from seven to ten years. "What’s interesting to note is that the definition of that term – ‘typical use’ – has expanded in recent years with the rise of binge-watching video and the development of exciting ‘smart TV’ functionalities. Now, on a typical day, we may switch on the TV to watch the latest episode of a favorite show, start a gaming session with friends, or manage our home’s IoT appliances." Samsung's QLED TVs are claimed to be all about the brightest possible, most accurate coloured images pictures, which therefore work with all kinds of content in all kinds of lighting conditions. To an extent, those claims are true. The developments Samsung has made in recent years in improving QLED panels have made for some incredible high-end televisions, such as last year's Samsung Q95T QLED. And Samsung's been sensible about using QLED as a by-word for premium hardware as well as brilliant picture quality. That all seems a decent package for the living room, but whether you should buy a QLED TV will ultimately come down to price. You're still paying thousands for a good QLED television, and the longevity of QLED may lie in how successfully Samsung can bring the technology to more mid-sized budgets. For now though, QLED offers a bright picture of what's to come. Jamie Carter made original contributions to this article.

 

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DJI Pocket 2 gets iPod-style makeover in new vlogging-friendly bundle

If you've been more keen on the DJI Pocket 2 's vlogging talents than its somewhat utilitarian black paint job, then DJI has a new bundle to tempt you called the Sunset White Combo. The new white version of the little 4K camera, which has a three-axis gimbal to help you shoot super-smooth videos, sits in between its basic bundle and Creator Combo pack, both of which are only available in the 'Classic Black' colorway. Instead, the DJI Pocket 2 Sunset White combo gives you many of the same accessories as the Creator Combo, plus a fancy white paint job that makes it look a bit like the sibling of an early 2000s iPod. So what accessories do you get in the Sunset White combo? Alongside the DJI Pocket 2, which is one of the best vlogging cameras you can buy, you get a mini control stick (for more tactile control of the gimbal's direction), a protective cover, the useful Do-It-All Handle, some smartphone adapters, a wrist strap and a sling strap. The only downside is that you don't get the wireless microphone transmitter included in the Creator Combo. While the new color doesn't immediately bring sunsets to mind, DJI says it contains hues of pink and purple with crystal white. It certainly looks a little more light-hearted than the standard black version, and perhaps slightly less like a optician's ophthalmoscope, too. But the camera itself is also identical to the original version, which arrived in October 2020 and has been steadily upgraded with firmware updates. DJI says the latest Pocket 2 firmware brings enhancements to its autofocus and tracking, plus the addition of HDR video, and all of these features will be present on the Pocket 2's Sunset White Combo version. The new version's pricing also sits in between the standard bundle and Creator Combo one. You can buy it today for $439 / £399 / AU$699, which is decent value when you consider that the Do-It-All handle (an accessory that brings a wireless mic receiver and tripod mount) costs $99 / £95 / $AU159 on its own. While the DJI Pocket 2's Sunset White Combo is nothing more than a new paint job and accessory bundle, it's likely to be a popular choice among vloggers and YouTubers looking to create pro-looking camera moves on a limited budget. The real charm of the Pocket 2 is its ability to create super-smooth panning shots and also automatically follow you around a scene thanks to its excellent subject-tracking. Neither of these things are possible with a smartphone, yet the Pocket 2 is also cheaper and far more portable than a mirrorless camera. It's a particularly good choice for solo filmmakers, but those who want their sound quality to match their visuals will still likely want to plump for the Creator Combo. Despite costing more than the Sunset White Combo at $499 / £469 / AU$799 (and also lacking that fancy new color), it includes a wireless microphone transmitter and windscreen, alongside a wide-angle lens and micro tripod. DJI's microphone offers good value in comparison third-party alternatives like the Rode Wireless Go. That said, the Pocket 2's four built-in microphones mean its out-of-the-box audio quality is a step up from the original DJI Osmo Pocket. If you're not sure whether or not you need an external mic, you could always get the new Sunset White Combo and buy the wireless microphone transmitter later when you're ready to step up.

 

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Audacity alternative abandoned after developer allegedly subjected to stalking and harassment

The programmer behind a fork of audio editor Audacity has abandoned the project after receiving a torrent of abuse. Known by the pseudonym “cookieengineer”, the developer published his Audacity alternative to GitHub earlier this week, amid a backlash against changes to the Audacity privacy policy. The new audio editor, called Tenacity, is built atop Audacity source code and effectively rolls back the software to a build that preceded the controversial changes. However, a row over the name of the breakaway project appears to have spiralled out of control, with members of anonymous bulletin board 4chan reportedly turning up at the developer’s home to express their disapproval. “I really thought long about this, and I haven’t slept in two days due to ongoing harassments of 4chan,” wrote cookieengineer in a GitHub post . “As the first people were literally arriving at my place of living, where they knocked on my doors and windows to scare us, I am hereby officially stepping down as a maintainer of this project. The safety of my family is worth more than an open source project.” The developer goes on to claim that the intruders were physically violent as well as verbally abusive, even slitting his arm with an illegal butterfly knife. Members of the 4chan community suggest these allegations are not truthful, however, and there is no evidence on the forum to show the developer's address was passed around. The latest Audacity saga was sparked by changes to the privacy policy made by Muse Group, the new owner. Members of the community worried that the tweaks would give the company carte blanche to gather as much user data as they pleased; some even went as far as to call Audacity “spyware”. Ever since Muse Group acquired Audacity earlier this year, relations between the company and the open source community have been strained. First, the software firm had to backtrack on plans to introduce an option to collect telemetry data after a backlash from contributors. The company put the incident down to an error of communication. Later, Muse Group ruffled feathers with a new Contributor License Agreement (CLA) for Audacity, which contributors were required to sign if they wanted to continue to work on the project. This new agreement also stipulated that Muse Group must be given unrestricted rights to all contributions. The privacy policy update proved to be the final straw for many frustrated users, ultimately leading to the creation of Tenacity. Problems arose, however, after cookiengineer disregarded the results of a poll that was supposed to determine the name of the project, but was swayed by an influx of votes from members of the 4chan community. The initial reaction was to create a second Audacity fork called Sneedacity, which 4chan users felt was the rightful name, based on the poll. A section of the community, however, appears to have taken more extreme action. The Tenacity developer says an investigation into the harassment is currently ongoing, involving both Github and the German federal police. Meanwhile, a new project maintainer will need to be elected. Via The Register

 

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Intellimize raises $30M to optimize websites with AI

Intellimize, a startup aiming to help marketers drive conversions by personalizing websites, today announced that it raised $30 million in series B funding led by Cobalt Capital, with participation from Addition, Amplify Partners, Homebrew, and Precursor Ventures. CEO Guy Yalif says that the proceeds, which bring the company’s total raised to over $50 million, will be put toward expanding Intellimize’s engineering and customer-facing teams. Personalization is increasingly key to boosting business revenue. Seventy-four percent of customers feel frustrated when website content isn’t personalized, one recent survey found. According to McKinsey, enterprises that have successfully embraced personalization have found proven ways to drive 5% to 15% increases in revenue and 10% to 30% increases in marketing-spend efficiency, predominantly by deploying triggered recommendations and communications. Yalif is the former head of vertical marketing at Twitter and held executive positions at Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group, and Yahoo. He launched Intellimize with Brian Webb and Jin Lim in 2016. At Yahoo, Yalif worked with both Yahoo VP of engineering — Lim — and Webb, who was an architect on Yahoo’s personalized content recommendation team. “[Over the past year,] we’ve been busy helping marketers create high converting websites by combining their ideas with our machine learning,” Yalif told VentureBeat via email. “We’ve become especially popular with business-to-business brands along with ecommerce. For example, we helped Snowflake generate 49% more leads with their website, while Sumo Logic accelerated decades of traditional testing and optimized across more than 1 billion versions of their site.” Intellimize leverages AI to generate webpages for visitors in real time. It enables customers to optimize for one or multiple goals simultaneously and tap third-party machine learning services for further customization, Yalif says, making adjustments in response to user behaviors. “One-size-fits-all websites are the biggest squandered opportunity in all of marketing for all industries… Intelligent website optimization is essential tech to the modern marketing stack, and our investors share this sentiment,” he added. Marketers begin by creating experiences for prospects. Intellimize’s AI then runs combinations of experiences and learns what converts, drawing on data including location, device type, time of day, day of the week, and traffic source. Finally, as a part of the last step, the platform delivers the best-performing experience to customers. With Intellimize, San Mateo, California-based Looker says it drove five times return on investment by nudging prospective customers to content, demo requests, and other web forms. “Our goal is to help more marketers deliver more revenue, more customers, and more leads to sales,” Yalif continued. “We will help more conversion-obsessed marketers dynamically adjust their websites to each unique visitor’s changing behavior over time.” The AI-driven personalization market has grown substantially in recent years. In June 2019, Amazon launched Personalize, a service that supports the development of websites, mobile apps, and content management and email marketing systems that suggest products and provide tailored search results. More recently, Google added AI-powered app personalization to app development platform Firebase. And on the startup side, Evolv Technologies, Optimizely (which was acquired by Episerver last year), and others have raised millions of dollars to automate A/B web testing with AI algorithms.

 

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The Walking Dead will shuffle its way into The Sandbox metaverse

The Walking Dead is coming to the decentralized gaming world of The Sandbox. That’s a big boost for the gaming virtual world that is built on blockchain-based nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The Sandbox is a game world and subsidiary of Animoca Brands, which recently raised $138.8 million at a $1 billion valuation and became gaming’s newest “unicorn.” Now it has partnered with Skybound Entertainment, the company owned by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, to bring an authentic new The Walking Dead experience to The Sandbox, which is a blocky world akin to Minecraft and Legos. To date, however, there hasn’t been a lot of dripping red blood in The Sandbox, which bills itself as a metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. “Our vision is to make The Sandbox open metaverse feel like a virtual attraction park with many amazing unique social experiences with The Walking Dead, Atari, Smurfs, and more,” said Sebastien Borget, chief operating officer of The Sandbox, in an email to GamesBeat. “Bringing such major entertainment brands into The Sandbox means we can reach to more than a billion people through them.” The Walking Dead universe is a good fit as zombie genre is one of the most popular game category, and The Sandbox wanted to bring the most globally well-known (U. S. and Asia) zombie brand, Borget said. Inside The Sandbox metaverse, The Walking Dead game experience will encourage gamers to unite with friends and other players as they overcome the day-to-day requirements of surviving a walker-infested habitat: scavenging for food, gathering resources, building walls, nurturing relationships, making alliances, and more. “We are closely collaborating with Skybound Entertainment on building TWD experiences that translate the spirit of the comic book series into our gaming virtual world,” Borget said. Through The Sandbox, voxel versions of favorite The Walking Dead characters, such as Rick Grimes, Michonne, and the iconic walkers, can be combined with a horde of assets to allow users to recreate memorable comic book storylines to play through or to forge their own original adventures. NFTs use blockchain, the transparent and secure decentralized ledger technology that can verify the uniqueness of collectible NFT digital items. NFTs have exploded in other applications such as art, sports collectibles, and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. Built by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shot has surpassed $700 million in sales, five months after going public to a worldwide audience. And an NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. NFTs are now selling at a rate of $23 million a week, though the initial hype around NFTs is dying down. But The Sandbox is still going full tilt into the tech. Part virtual real-estate, part amusement park, The Sandbox fully embraces the idea of the metaverse as this continuous shared digital space where worlds and heroes collide to make rainbow-colored magic (think Ready Player One). Skybound Entertainment’s intellectual property joins over 160 existing partnerships including deadmau5, Richie Hawtin, The Smurfs, Care Bears, Atari, Zepeto, and CryptoKitties, all following The Sandbox team’s vision of empowering players to create their own experiences using both original and well-known characters and worlds. In addition to the dedicated The Walking Dead experience on The Sandbox map, users will be able to create their own fan-made adventures and stories featuring characters, game items, equipment, wearables, and decorative digital assets from The Walking Dead franchise — or just showcase the assets they own in a digital gallery or museum. As a first step to bring The Walking Dead into The Sandbox’s metaverse, the team will give users the possibility to get pieces of virtual real estate close to The Walking Dead’s spot in the metaverse, enabling fans and gamers alike to be as close as ever to their brand. Dan Murray, co-CEO of Skybound Games & Merchandise, said in a statement that the move will bring fans a chance to play, create, socialize, inhabit, and interact within a novel multiplayer gaming virtual world. The Sandbox is scheduled to launch its first public alpha test for players this summer, enabling anyone to experience a social hub and gain the power to build a fantastic collection of fantasy and role-playing adventures that can be traded with other players, creators, and artists on the platform. “The future of The Sandbox Game Maker will enable thousands of experiences to be created, building a new game format inside the metaverse,” Borget said. “We have a dedicated gameplay team that develops avatar-centric visual experiences with gaming, fights, collecting, breeding, leveling up, and social multiplayer experiences, from weddings to cosplay parades or even exhibition openings. From intimate evenings to the most unbelievable parties, your imagination is the only limit.” The Walking Dead will also come to life in The Sandbox on the map of its metaverse, where everyone will be able to see The Walking Dead main location by July 8, and they’ll be able to buy virtual lands NFTs next to it so they can be virtual neighbors and build contiguous experiences next to it. With over 7,600 unique land owners, The Sandbox is one of the most premium virtual real estate destinations today, and this has been supported by countless brands, celebrities, and crypto/NFT communities, Borget said.

 

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The Games Fund invests in 4 Eastern European game studios

The Games Fund, which raised $50 million earlier this year for a new game-focused venture capital fund, has invested in four early-stage game studios in Eastern Europe. The Moscow and Los Angeles-based fund is moving fast amid a market that is full of game venture capitalists, but the firm believes it has an edge with the rich numbers of studios in Eastern Europe, said Ilya Eremeev, cofounder of The Games Fund, in an interview with GamesBeat. He said the fund started its activities in April and actively scouted in emerging regions. The firm wants to be a bridge between international companies and local developers and help them integrate into the global gaming ecosystem. “All of them show our strategy of investing in early stage companies, free-to-play mobile game developers, young developers, based in Eastern Europe,” said Eremeev. “They are all different with some of them working in the casual space and others on the opposite side of the spectrum in midcore and hardcore games.” He expects to announce six more investments before the end of the year. And he has a lot to choose from, as he estimates there are 5,000 game companies operating in Eastern Europe. So far, the team has reviewed about 300 pitches. He said that hot trends such as nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain could be interesting at some point, but such game companies aren’t the fund’s primary focus. The first four investments are as follows. Vandrouka Games has raised $1 million in seed stage funding. Its founders are Vadim Komkov and Vladimir Komkov, and it has 10 people based in Minsk, Belarus. It was founded by games industry veterans with over 10 years of casual game development experience. Previously, the founders worked as top managers at one of the leading gaming companies in Eastern Europe. They decided to start out on their own to make casual games with a focus on innovative gameplay, fresh and engaging meta, and good visuals. Purple Games has raised $1 million, with about $450,000 of that coming from The Games Fund. Founded by Denis Zhuravlev, the company has match-3 experts with more than 10 years of experience at casual game companies. They believe that the match-3 genre started by Bejeweled hasn’t hit its peak yet, and there is room for innovation. The first game, Greenvale, is showing impressive results in soft launch and will soon be ready for scaling. Purple Games has 25 people, and it is also based in Minsk. Jarvi Games has raised $510,000 in a pre-seed round. The Games Fund is a big fan of funding young first-time founders with ambitious ideas, in this case Jarvi founders Ihor Lysenko, Serhii Hrynenko, Dmytro Burnos, and Oleksandr Lysenko. This team has ambitions to break out of the Eastern European games market with Vice Online, a mobile action sandbox multiplayer game — something close to the Grand Theft Auto Online experience, but designed for mobile from the ground up. No one has really succeeded yet with authentic, mobile-first experience. This is not an easy concept to deliver — the game is in its early stage — but The Games Fund is already having tons of fun and laughs playtesting it, Eremeev said. It is an open world, massively multiplayer online game with sport cars, helicopters, private jets, boats, and a massive arsenal of firearms. Everything blows up. The team has 10 employees in Kharkiv, Ukraine. “They’re trying to create to recreate that kind of GTA V online experience for mobile,” Eremeev said. “They provide that sandbox experience and focusing on the broader audience. You can do all the mayhem you want in the city and customize your stuff.” The team will polish the game and create better and better versions, and it will likely raise more money to bring the game to a global audience. “They have a playable version, and all the core mechanics,” Eremeev said. The studio has raised $1 million, with $450,000 coming from The Games Fund. The founders are Sergey Petrov and Boris Kalmykov. The Hypemasters team is a mix of the seasoned core team and fresh blood. It is focusing on creating player-versus-player real-time strategy games on mobile. The first game, World War Commander, is an RTS title set in World War II. “There are not that many competitors in this space because it is perceived that RTS is not that attractive for foreign players,” Eremeev said. “But we believe that is not true. There is a space for RTS and serious hardcore games.” Eremeev said that PC games in this genre have a strong community, and he believes that adapting popular PC genres to mobile has a lot of potential. The trick is not to copy or port the game from PC to mobile, but to rework and reimagine the gameplay while preserving and amplifying the very essence of the genre and player experience. World War Commander is currently in beta in Russia and showing solid results. Hypemasters has 25 people in London and St. Petersburg.

 

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Petcube Bites 2 Lite petcam and treat dispenser can connect you to a vet, too

Petcube’s line of smart devices has gotten an affordable update with the Petcube Bites 2 Lite, a combo pet camera and smart treat dispenser that allows owners to interact with their pets from a distance. The cam clocks in at a significantly reduced price from previous models. The Petcube Bites 2 was $190, while the Bites 2 Lite version, which is now available on Amazon, is just $125. The pet camera features 1008p full HD video, a 160-degree viewing angle, and a night vision mode for observing pets in lowlight conditions. The 1.5-pound dispenser allows owners to release a dry, crunchy treat, with options to control how far the treat is propelled to offer more play options (the durable plastic of the Bites 2 Lite is made to be pet-proof if things get carried away). Two-way audio with a noise-canceling microphone also allows owners to communicate with their pets, while the sound and motion sensors can provide cam alerts when the owner is not present. Owners will also be able to access additional services to take care of their pets, including the built-in Vet Chat that can connect users with a veterinary expert to consult on problems, unexpected behaviors, or nutrition. The Bites 2 Lite offers additional security cam-focused features, such as the ability to sign up for Petcube Care, a $4-per-month subscription service that can automatically capture video from the Bites 2 Lite when triggered by movement or loud barks/meows, then store the footage in the cloud so owners can review it at a later time. Petcube specifically mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic as a driver for pet owners seeking out new cams for communication from work. “We have a whole generation of pets adopted and raised during the pandemic,” says Yaroslav Azhnyuk, CEO of Petcube. “Animals helped people get through these challenging times, a very special bond has been built. Now, pet parents are leaving homes for work and it causes anxiety on both sides. Petcube’s goal is to make this transition less painful.” The Bites 2 Lite joins other Petcube devices such as the Petcube Cam and Play 2. These cams are compatible and can all be operated by the Petcube app.

 

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0.3
Datometry to Teradata and Oracle customers: Move to cloud without changing code

Teradata has long distinguished itself, not simply by its scale or performance, but by an advanced SQL engine that was designed for handling extremely complex functions such as recursive queries and implicit joins, unique syntax, and custom logic for parallelizing workloads. The result is that Teradata has long positioned itself for organizations that have the most challenging analytic problems. And it's finally embraced cloud aggressively with Vantage. The Redshifts, Synapses, Snowflakes, and BigQueries of the world have been positioned as modern cloud, hyperscale alternatives with pay as you go pricing that should provide more economic alternatives to legacy Teradata platforms. For many, functionality gaps or requirements to change source code and/or schema have been the show-stoppers for migration. Naturally, there's a startup that thinks it has the answer to that. Datometry says that the answer isn't data virtualization, but database virtualization. Its approach is to insert a runtime that acts as a buffer between your Teradata SQL statements and the target cloud data warehouse. The idea is to enable Teradata customers to run their Teradata queries on different targets without having to modify or completely rewrite their existing SQL programs. Its product, Hyper Q, is adding Oracle to the list of database sources. The core of Datometry's approach is its own proprietary hypervisor that emulates the SQL database calls on the fly. Under the hood, it breaks down those complex calls, stored procedures, and/or macros into atomic operations that the target data warehouse should understand. For instance, a recursive query, which is used for querying nested or hierarchical data structures, is translated on the fly to a series of simple individual calls to the target, with intermediate results stored in temporary tables managed by the hypervisor. Given that these operations are likely to be complex, it offers policy-based queueing that fit with existing policies run on the source. It provides JDBC and ODBC APIs for BI and ETL tools. Of course, Datometry is not the first to state "don't change your programs." There are SQL translators, but Datometry claims their effectiveness is often spotty. They estimate that code converters should handle roughly 60-70% of all workloads. The traditional workaround was adding non-SQL code in the application to compensate for the difference between the Teradata SQL and the SQL of the target database. Likewise, custom data types and structures are also often missed by cloud database schema migration tools. Can Datometry handle all the idiosyncrasies of Teradata SQL? The company claims to have 99% coverage of Teradata workloads. Admittedly there is a cost -- Datometry's virtualization layer will add 1-2% of overhead, although as they say with EPA ratings, your mileage will vary depending on the workload. The company claims that's a small price to pay compared to the overhead of maintaining code from SQL code and schema conversion tools. Datometry performed its initial proof of concept with SQL Server on HPE Superdome machines on-premises about four years ago, and has since pivoted to supporting Azure Synapse and Google BigQuery in the cloud. As noted above, it has just announced a preview for Oracle. Significantly, Datometry has not yet targeted Amazon Redshift or Snowflake -- so it still has its work cut out for it.

 

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0.0
Why You Need a Data Fabric, Not Just IT Architecture - InformationWeek

As companies move into hybrid computing, they’re redefining their IT architectures. IT architecture describes a company's entire IT asset base, whether on-premises or in-cloud. This architecture is stratified into three basic levels: hardware such as mainframes, servers, etc.; middleware, which encompasses operating systems, transaction processing engines, and other system software utilities; and the user-facing applications and services that this underlying infrastructure supports. Credit: Graphic in Motion via Adobe Stock IT architecture has been a recent IT focus because as organizations move to the cloud, IT assets also move, and there is a need to track and monitor these shifts. However, with the growth of digitalization and analytics, there is also a need to track, monitor, and maximize the use of data that can come from a myriad of sources. An IT architecture can’t provide data management, but a data fabric can. Unfortunately, most organizations lack well-defined data fabrics, and many are still trying to understand why they need a data fabric at all. What Is a Data Fabric? Gartner defines a data fabric as “a design concept that serves as an integrated layer (fabric) of data and connecting processes. A data fabric utilizes continuous analytics over existing, discoverable and inferenced metadata assets to support the design, deployment and utilization of integrated and reusable data across all environments, including hybrid and multi-cloud platforms.” Let’s break it down. Every organization wants to use data analytics for business advantage. To use analytics well, you need data agility that enables you to easily connect and combine data from any source your company uses --whether the source is an enterprise legacy database or data that is culled from social media or the Internet of Things (IoT). You can't achieve data integration and connectivity without using data integration tools, and you also must find a way to connect and relate disparate data to each other in meaningful ways if your analytics are going to work. This is where data fabric enters. The data fabric contains all the connections and relationships between an organization’s data, no matter what type of data it is or where it comes from. The goal of the fabric is to function as an overall tapestry of data that interweaves all data so data in its entirety is searchable. This has the potential to not only optimize data value, but to create a data environment that can answer virtually any analytics query. The data fabric does what an IT architecture can’t: it tells you what data does, and how data relates to each other. Without a data fabric, companies’ abilities to leverage data and analytics are limited. Building a Data Fabric When you build a data fabric, it’s best to start small and in a place where your staff already has familiarity. That “place” for most companies will be with the tools that they are already using to extract, transform and load (ETL) data from one source to another, along with any other data integration software such as standard and custom APIs. All of these are examples of data integration you have already achieved. Now, you want to add more data to your core. You can do this by continuing to use the ETL and other data integration methods you already have in place as you build out your data fabric. In the process, care should be taken to also add the metadata about your data, which will include the origin point for the data, how it was created, what business and operational processes use it, what its form is (e.g., single field in a fixed record, or an entire image file), etc. By maintaining the data’s history, as well as all its transformations, you are in a better position to check data for reliability, and to ensure that it is secure. As your data fabric grows, you will probably add data tools that are missing from your workbench. These might be tools that help with tracking data, sharing metadata, applying governance to data, etc. A recommendation in this area is to look for an all-inclusive data management software that contains not only all the tools that you'll need build a data fabric, but also important automation such as built-in machine learning. The machine learning observes how data in your data fabric is working together, and which combinations of data are used most often in different business and operational contexts. When you query the data, the ML assists in pulling the data together that is most likely to answer your queries. It’s difficult for many organizations to develop data fabric elements like machine learning “from scratch.” This is where data management software helps because it usually includes already automated, built-in machine learning that you can use in your data fabric. Summary Data fabrics offer an opportunity to track, monitor and utilize data while IT architectures track, monitor and maintain IT assets. Both are needed for a long-term digitalization strategy. The data fabric development can start on a small scale, such as a specific business area or a use case. In most cases, IT can use data integration tools it is already familiar with, together with a data management system that can automate many of the data fabric building functions that IT is less familiar with. The end goal should be an IT architecture that tells you where every IT asset is and what it does; and a data fabric that tells you everything you want to know about the data in that infrastructure. What to Read Next: CIO Agenda for Right Now: Priorities a Year Into the Pandemic Time to Modernize Your Data Integration Framework Align Your Data Architecture with the Strategic Plan

 

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Sennheiser’s New AirPods Rival Has the Best Sound You Can Buy for $130

If you’re in the market for a pair of wireless earbuds with excellent sound but don’t want to blow your entire budget on Master & Dynamic’s amazing MW08s or Sony’s impressive WF-1000XM4s, for $130 Sennheiser’s new CX True Wireless buds will make your ears happy—although you’ll sacrifice features now found on even cheaper wireless headphones. The CX True Wireless, available starting today, are Sennheiser’s entry-level wireless earbuds and a more affordable follow-up to the company’s CX 400BT True Wireless earbuds from last year. Aside from some aesthetic improvements (the Sennheiser logo on each bud is now subtler) and improved battery life, the most notable upgrade with the new CX True Wireless is a $130 price tag which is $70 cheaper than their predecessor. They’re not the cheapest wireless earbuds you can buy today, and while they come with compromises, Sennheiser hasn’t compromised on the one thing the brand is known for: excellent sounding headphones. As with any gadget, designing a pair of wireless earbuds is a balancing act between their size and weight and the technology stuffed inside them. Some companies, like Sony, prioritize functionality, resulting in earbuds like the WF-1000XM4s, which are big, bulky, and require special memory foam ear tips to stay securely snuggled in a user’s ears. Others prioritize size, resulting in tiny earbuds like the Beats Studio Buds that are incredibly comfortable and easy to wear, but don’t deliver sound as impressive as some users would like at a $150 price point. With the CX True Wireless, Sennheiser has taken the middle ground and delivered buds that are a little larger than what I usually prefer to wear, with a design that sees the bulk of the device sticking out of the user’s ear. Aesthetically, it’s not the most pleasing look, and companies like Master & Dynamic have done a much better job at designing larger earbuds that still manage to comfortably nestle inside the wearer’s ear—but you’re paying a premium for that. With four sets of included silicone eartips, however, I had no problem getting a secure fit for the CX True Wireless, and they’re light enough that despite sticking out a bit, the buds never felt like they were going to fall out under their own weight. When I’m not an old man yelling at clouds, I’ve spent just as much time complaining about companies that use touch controls on earbuds. The tapping gesture often dislodges an already precariously perched earbud, and I tend to prefer the usability of physical buttons. That being said, Sennheiser’s implementation is incredibly sensitive, responding to the gentlest tap, and while there’s a delay between the tap and the requested function being performed, the earbuds do make a very quiet beep so you at least know your request has been noted, even if you have to wait a moment for it to happen. The shortcuts are also customizable through a free app available for iOS and Android devices, but more importantly, the tap functionality can also be completely disabled so there’s no risk of accidentally pausing your music or skipping a track when all you were trying to do was adjust the bud in your ear. I’ve always preferred to control my music playback through a smartwatch than constantly touching my wireless earbuds, and being able to disable those touch controls earns the CX True Wireless some bonus points in my book. For $130 it’s no surprise that Sennheiser isn’t packing the new CX True Wireless in a charging case bedazzled with diamonds and rubies, but despite being an all plastic affair, it’s thankfully very compact (one of the smallest I’ve tested, but still larger than the AirPods and AirPods Pro cases) and charges through a USB-C cable. There’s no wireless charging (for just $10 more the Amazon Echo Buds at least offer that as an option), but the case can be used to fully recharge the earbuds twice over, boosting their nine hours of playback time to a total of 27 hours when you’re away from a power source. By comparison, the original Apple AirPods, long overdue for an upgrade, offer a total of 24 hours of listening, and are still $30 more expensive than Sennheiser’s new entry-level option. I wasn’t expecting my ears to cringe when I first stuck Sennheiser’s most affordable wireless buds in my ears; I’ve tested enough of the company’s higher-end headphones to know it has an expertise in such things. But I was pleasantly surprised with how good they actually sounded given their price point. The earbuds feature Sennheiser’s “TrueResponse transducer,” a name the company likes to throw around, and while their 7mm drivers are a lot smaller than the 11mm drivers Master & Dynamic uses in its MW08s, the CX True Wireless are some of the best sounding wireless earbuds I’ve ever tested— across the board. My go-to track for testing the bass performance of wireless earbuds—something that’s most often lacking as companies opt for smaller drivers that don’t drain rechargeable batteries as quickly—is the Tropic Remix of Surf Mesa’s “ily,” specifically when the beat drops at around the 30-second mark. On wireless earbuds like the Beats Studio Buds, the bass performance is a little flat for my preferences, and tends to be overshadowed by otherwise crisp and clear highs. With the CX True Wireless, the entire sound spectrum comes through clear and well-pronounced, while still delivering lower frequencies with a satisfying thump. That aforementioned “TrueResponse transducer” might sound like marketing speak, but it’s clear that Sennheiser hasn’t cheapened out on the important hardware with the CX True Wireless earbuds just to hit a cheaper price point. These aren’t low-quality earbuds capitalizing on the Sennheiser brand, they’re Sennheisers through and through that prioritize sound quality while sacrificing active noise cancellation and other premium features. That being said, being able to customize the functionality and sound profile of your wireless earbuds is usually a feature you don’t expect to find on more affordable options, but the Sennheiser Smart Control app offers a surprising level of customizability. Yes, the adjustable EQ is limited with just three sliders, but it’s far more than what most wireless earbuds at this price point offer. If you can live without active noise cancellation —a feature that I feel isn’t quite as effective as the marketing hype makes it seem —and don’t mind the trade-off of slightly larger earbuds for a lower price point, it’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with how the new CX True Wireless sound and the solid functionality that Sennheiser has included. Robust customizability through an app is unheard of at $130, and while many will consider these “ n o frills” wireless earbuds given the lack of ANC or ambient sound boosting, Sennheiser has obviously made those compromises to focus on creating an affordable set of wireless buds that sound fantastic for those who prioritize audio over everything else.

 

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The Boys spin-off show reveals season 3 details – and may tease its release date

The first spin-off show of The Boys has been released, and you can watch the whole first episode for free right now. It takes the form of an in-universe news show called Seven on 7, an extremely patriotic propaganda machine run by Vought International. Importantly, it'll tease plot elements that lead into The Boys season 3. Putting aside the show's less-than-subtle satirical jabs at certain American news outlets, Seven on 7 does perform a very key function for the Amazon Prime Video hit, according showrunner Eric Kripke. Speaking with The Wrap, Kripke explains that Seven on 7 not only “bridges the story gap between seasons 2 and 3” but introduces us to important new characters. The Boys season 3 will prominently feature the “fair and balanced patriots” who work for VNN (Vought News Network), including Cameron Coleman (Matthew Edison), who is the star of Seven on 7. This first episode of Seven on 7 gives us an insight into how the general public in the world of The Boys may understand the events of season 2. Coleman is obviously angered by the hiring of "terrorist" Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) to the Office of Supe Affairs, yet is happily spreading lies about the whereabouts of Blindspot – a superhero who was seriously injured by Homelander in season 2 of The Boys. A new episode of Seven on 7 will be released on the seventh of each month, until The Boys season 3 releases. If you're interested in checking out Seven on 7 for yourself, you can find it on the Vought International YouTube account (alongside an official music video for Starlight's 'Never Truly Vanish'). Alternatively, you can watch episode 1 right here in the video below: While we don’t yet know when season 3 of The Boys will be released, some fans believe Seven on 7’s peculiar release schedule could be a clue from Amazon. Given the overuse of the number seven, some suspect we could get seven episodes of Seven on 7. That would wrap up the series on January 7, 2022 and could then lead straight into a new series of The Boys on the same day. Alternatively, internet theorists suggest we could see the first episode drop a week (or seven days) later on January 14. Both of these days in January are Fridays, the perfect time to drop a new series, especially now that rival Disney Plus has shifted the release of its major shows to Wednesdays. We’ll have to wait and see what Amazon has planned for The Boys season 3, but at least we now have something to enjoy while we wait.

 

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Batman is back in Fortnite in today’s Item Shop update

Today’s Fortnite Item Shop update for July 8, 2021 is here, bringing previous skins and characters back to the main homepage. The July 8 update reintroduces a new skin for the fan-favorite licensed character Batman, as well as some beloved emotes and accessories. Read on to see what is in the Fortnite Item Shop, on July 8, 2021. The main new addition to the Fortnite Item Shop homepage today is Batman, the Caped Crusader himself. Of course, it’s not the first time he’s been in Fortnite, but today his brand-new armored skin headlines the in-game store. Batman first arrived in the game in late 2019, as part of the Welcome to Gotham special event. His skins have remained in and around the game ever since, but today’s skin is completely new. Called the Armored Batman Zero skin, it’s got luminescent eyes and a metal-clad body, like his appearance in The Dark Knight Returns. Alongside the skin, there’s also a new axe and glider. We’ve got the Batarang axe and Batman’s Exo-Glider, both of which complement the rugged new look. The skin will set you back 1,500 V-Bucks, which is around $19.99, based on the cheapest V-Bucks bundle. Elsewhere in the Item Shop today, there’s plenty of other, Batman-free items. The much-loved Toon Meowscles bundle is back in-game, which has remained popular since its release in May of this year. It comes with the skin, the Ten-Ton Toon-Bells axe, the Toona Can back bling, as well as an emote, music, and a new loading screen. That bundle doesn’t come cheap though, at a hefty 2,200 V-Bucks. The rest of today’s Item Shop is mostly made up of other well-known Fortnite items. There’s an epic skin for Gia, but that’s not a new addition to the game. We’ve also got the very memeable ‘stonks’ outfit of Diamond Hanz, the Glitter Blaster weapon wrap, and three other uncommon skins. In other news, Black Widow is finally out now – and we’ve got the post-credits scene explained here. DICE LA also has a new name – say hello to Ripple Effect.

 

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Brave browser: The bad and the ugly

Nobody and nothing is perfect. Get that into your head early on in life, and you'll be a million times happier. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't want things to be better. I like the Brave browser. A lot. But when I first started using it, I had concerns about a few things. A few things that felt a bit odd to me. But I put them aside, and they were soon forgotten. However, the other day I wrote about Brave, and how I think this is the perfect alternative to Google Chrome for those who want a powerful privacy-focused browser. But then a few comments came in, reminding me of those things that I initially didn't like about Brave. Must read: The best browser to replace Google Chrome on Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android The first comment relates to the dashboard page and how this page feels cluttered and, because it occasionally displays ads, spammy. "Spammy" was a word that was used a few times. And it's true that it does display ads, and there are links to several cryptocurrency services. They're "safe" ads, and you can turn them off, but it wasn't what some people expected to see in a browser that had been billed as putting privacy at its core. But the feedback I received makes it clear that some were not expecting to see huge trading ads, and what seem like deep links to crypto services. I understand the problem here. On the one hand, Brave needs to pay the bills, but on the other, first impressions matter. I'm not sure if there's a solution to this. Maybe give users a choice (although you and I both know what most will say). Maybe it doesn't matter. Either way, it is all a bit jarring, especially for people not into crypto. And it doesn't help that when people do a search, a few controversies float to the surface. The other thing that I got a fair amount of feedback on was the settings. Brave has a lot of settings. A lot more than the likes of Google Chrome, and while hardened stalwarts to browsers won't have a problem -- or will be able to drive to the nearest search engine for clarification -- Brave can feel unfriendly and overwhelming to those who don't live and breathe tech. And all the settings and buttons related to all the cryptocurrency stuff goes some way to bloating out the user interface. I don't see either of these as showstoppers, but they are barriers and obstacles that some stumble on. I'm curious to know your thoughts on this. Do you think that Brave needs to address these issues, or is Brave a browser for a specific audience?

 

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Watch EA Play Live Spotlight’s Future of FPS panel here for Battlefield 2042 and Apex Legends chat

The first of five EA Play Live panels airs today. EA is doing things a little differently this year with its EA Play Live summer showcase. Before the main event on July 22, EA will be hosting five developer-lead panels – dubbed EA Play Live Spotlight – covering five different subjects, the first of which takes place today. The Future of First-Person Shooters is today’s panel, going live at 10am PT,1pm ET,6pm UK. The show mainly features Respawn Entertainment founder Vince Zampella, and DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson. The two will also be joined by Ripple Effect Studios’ ( the new name of DICE LA) GM Christian Grass, and Apex Legends game director Chad Grenier. In case it wasn’t obvious, Battlefield 2042, and Apex Legends will dominate the conversation, including a tease of what the two games are bringing to EA Play Live proper later this month. With any luck, we may also get to learn a thing or two about Battlefield 2042’s mysterious second experience, in development at Ripple Effect. You can watch the show on EA’s YouTube channel, or via the player embedded below. Watch on YouTube

 

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What is 8K resolution? The next step in ultra-high resolution panels explained

What is 8K resolution? Many of the best TV brands are using this futuristic ultra-high definition technology to add to the latest premium television sets. That means you'll be hearing the word 8K more and more these days. However, when it comes to understanding what 8K means for video quality, home cinema, and you, the answer isn't straightforward. That's why we've put together this guide, to explain this modern resolution standard, why it matters, and why it's increasingly so prominent in today's TV market. 2019 was when 8K really kicked off, but 2021 is the year it's truly started to come into its own, with a host of 8K TV models with solid HDMI support at a variety of semi-affordable price points. There's the Samsung Neo QN900 8K QLED TV, the brand's top-of-the-line TV for 2021, as well as the Samsung Neo QN800 and Samsung QN700A, both more entry-level options. LG has brought out some of its new 8K TVs, including the QNED99 and QNED95 in the QNED range, and is also set to launch the LG Nano9Z QNED 8K TV, which is this year’s highest-spec ‘ QNED ’ television. So, what is 8K resolution all about? Read on for everything you need. 8K is nothing short of the clearest picture you’re ever likely to see. It’s got four times more pixels than 4K images, measuring 7680x4320 pixels, which equates to a total of 33,177,600 pixels. In a 65-inch screen they are so small you won't even be able to make out the pixel structure – though many 8K TVs are much, much larger. It’s called 8K because the images are roughly 8,000 pixels wide, give or take a few hundred, but the specification also comes under the umbrella term Ultra HD, so some people use the term Ultra HD 8K. Others still call it 8K Super Hi-Vision, such as NHK – Japan's largest public broadcaster – which invented it back in the year 2000 and branded it in 2012. Absolutely, yes. Full HD 1080p TVs gave you a two-megapixel image, which isn’t much compared even to what your smartphone’s camera is capable of.4K ups that to eight megapixels, which still seems underwhelming considering the capabilities of human vision and, again, what smartphone screens can now achieve. So the 33-megapixel image of 8K – the next mathematical step-up from 4K – could at last provide the kind of immersion we’ve been searching for. Or, at least, that’s the theory. Over the coming years, you can expect to hear more from the 8K Association – a community of TV makers that include Samsung Electronics, Panasonic, Hisense, TCL, and AU Optronics. This association was set up to guide the visual standard of the future, and has set up a new 8K standard to ensure consumers know they're getting minimum specs suited to the high-resolution panel (even if LG goes by slightly different measurements). Other TV-tangential companies, such as Tencent, Xperi, Intel, and Chili have also joined the 8K Association, showing an expanded desire by technological organizations to invest in (and shape) the development of the advanced panel resolution. LG has released a range of 8K TVs a year after they were first announced (we'll cover those later), but the interesting thing is LG claims competitors don't offer the same experience as LG's real 8K. So what's this argument about "real 8K"? Well, LG is citing the Information Display Measurements Standard (IDMS) for pixel differentiation, arguing that 8K TVs shouldn't just be defined by the number of pixels they have (7,680 x 4,320), but also how well the TV panel can distinguish / contrast between those pixels. If those tiny self-emissive dots start to merge the brightness or colors of their output, then there's little point in having so many. LG claims its new 8K TVs achieve this Contrast Modulation (CM) "in the 90 percent range", leading to what it calls "real 8K". (The IDMS standard only requires 25 percent for images, or 50 percent for text.) These claims came only a day after the 8K Association, an organization for encouraging the adoption and development of 8K, with members including Samsung, Panasonic, Hisense, and TCL – though notably not LG – set out its own standard for 8K TVs. Its mainly sensible stuff, such as HDMI 2.1 ports, high enough frame rates,8K resolution, and a minimum 600 nits peak brightness, but no mention of the Contrast Modulation measurement used by LG. At CES 2021, a number of new 8K TVs were unveiled, but we were particularly interested in announcements from Samsung and LG. At the expo, we got an early hands-on with the Samsung Neo QN800 8K QLED TV, which we've dubbed the first 8K television for many early adopters. We've since reviewed one of Samsung's most exciting 8K offerings, the Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K TV, which is the brand's top-of-the-line TV for 2021. From LG, CES 2021 saw the release of two new 8K TVs, the LG Nano9Z QNED 8K TV, which is this year’s highest-spec ‘QNED’ television, as well as the LG Nano9X QNED 8K TV, which cleaves close to the Nano9Z, as a QNED / MiniLED 8K TV, but makes do with a 60Hz panel rather than 120Hz. For more on these new TVs from LG, visit our LG TV 2021 guide or check out find out more about the LG QNED TV range. It's also worth checking out TCL's range, including the TCL Mini LED TV with 8K and AI learning, as well as this TCL’s new X-Series TV that has an 8K resolution, uses AI learning, has a retractable camera and supports augmented reality content. Yep, you read that right. It also has a ‘duo-display design’ that ‘allows viewers to enjoy a mini-screen independently’. Prices have been dropping, with entry-level 8K sets costing as much (or as little) as a high-end 4K TV. Yes, if you're hoping to passthrough 8K content from a Blu-ray player or games console at a max 60Hz. However, with no 8K games around yet, or 8K Blu-rays, the HDMI 2.1 standard is still waiting to be useful for 8K sets, beyond allowing for 4K resolution at 120Hz from source devices. The arrival of the PS5 and Xbox Series X will have many asking whether 8K games are on the horizon, given the consoles' HDMI 2.1 ports technically allow for 8K/60Hz passthrough. We're not holding our breath, given that native 4K gaming is still something of a rarity, and will likely take a few more years to become the norm for home console games. (The Xbox Series S still makes do with upscaled 4K, while the Nintendo Switch doesn't get anywhere near it.) 8K isn't necessarily the end goal for gaming either. Many would argue that a fast refresh rate (120Hz) is more important, ensuring that gameplay feels smooth and the picture isn't clipped or torn during busy visuals. One of the main criticisms levelled at 8K is that there's little-to-no 8K content, meaning 8K hardware relies on upscaling HD or 4K sources. However, there are a few places native 8K content is starting to stem from. The first is Hollywood, whose directors have begun to use the new RED Weapon 8K camera ( Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 has already been filmed this way in 8K). And with the advent of truly commercial 8K TVs, there's sure to be a growing market of 8K content from all sorts of traditional TV production studios. Samsung has partnered with a number of streaming services across Europe – including CHILI, MEGAGOGO, and The Explorers – to start displaying 8K HDR10+ content. Lastly – and perhaps most tellingly – 8K content will come from all of us.8K capture from 360-degree video cameras is already offered by the GoPro Omni VR and Insta360 Pro . "Talk to the VR guys and they're tell you that the higher the resolution and frames rates, the better," says Jeff Park, Director of Marketing at HDMI Licensing, whose new HDMI 2.1 permits 8K image transfer. "VR today looks good but it lacks fidelity… if it was affordable and practical, they would do 8K now," he says.8K-per-eye VR headsets, anybody? They're surely in the pipeline alongside a wider field of view. But, in the interim, it'll be advanced upscaling processors that will take full HD and 4K content and make them ready for the 8K big time, redefining the sharpness possible from existing sources. 8K TVs aren't likely to feel like necessary purchases for a while yet, but there's already enough content on the horizon for us to expect a bright future for the high-def technology.

 

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YouTube's recommendation engine is pretty naff, Mozilla study finds

The majority of YouTube videos that netizens taking part in a study said they regretted watching were recommended by the website's space-age AI algorithms. “This problem with YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is part of a bigger story about the opaque, mysterious influence that commercial algorithms can have on our lives,” the Mozilla-led study, released on Wednesday, concluded. “YouTube’s algorithm drives an estimated 700 million hours of watch time every single day, and yet the public knows very little about how it works. We have no official ways of studying it.” Firefox-maker Mozilla built a browser extension named RegretsReporter for YouTube users to download. Once installed, the extension logged netizens’ viewing activity on YouTube, recording details on the videos watched, and made it easy for users to flag clips that they wished they hadn’t seen. The data was pooled together and analyzed in an attempt to study YouTube's recommendation engine's behavior and effectiveness. There are a number of reasons why the volunteers regretted watching vids, ranging from the material being nothing more than bonkers QAnon conspiracy theories about political elites drinking children’s blood, to false information on COVID-19 vaccines, to inappropriate raunchy parodies of smash-hit movie Toy Story. Mozilla researchers found that 71 per cent of all videos volunteers regretted watching on the Google-owned platform were recommended by the giant's whiz-bang AI algorithm. They also estimated that about 12.2 per cent of those reported videos contained content that violated YouTube’s own guidelines and policies – the vids shouldn't be on the site all at let alone recommended by it. A total of 37,380 YouTube viewers across 190 countries volunteered in the crowd-sourced study; 3,362 reports were submitted for videos they regretted watching between July 2020 and May 2021. YouTube’s recommendation algorithm seems to perform worse in non-English speaking countries, where people logged higher rates of regret reports. Brazil, Germany, and France were rated worst, the US and the UK were ranked eighth and sixteenth respectively. “The goal of our recommendation system is to connect viewers with content they love and on any given day, more than 200 million videos are recommended on the homepage alone,” a Google spokesperson told The Register in a statement. “Over 80 billion pieces of information is used to help inform our systems, including survey responses from viewers on what they want to watch. We constantly work to improve the experience on YouTube and over the past year alone, we’ve launched over 30 different changes to reduce recommendations of harmful content. Thanks to this change, consumption of borderline content that comes from our recommendations is now significantly below 1 per cent." YouTube has grappled with recommendation systems for years and has adjusted them to improve performance. Still, its automated software isn’t perfect: videos that violate its content policies still slip through and continue to be recommended to users. Mozilla reckons that will only continue if YouTube remains coy on how its algorithm actually works. “We believe our research has revealed is only the tip of the iceberg, and that each of these findings deserves and requires further scrutiny,” the report stated. “We also recognize that without intervention to enable greater scrutiny of YouTube’salgorithms, these problems will continue to go unchecked and the consequences on our communities will build. Despite the progress that YouTube claims to have made on these issues, it is still nearly impossible for researchers to verify these claims, nor study YouTube’s recommendation algorithms.” Mozilla recommended YouTube publish data on how its systems work and be transparent about its content moderation and recommendation model. That way, Moz argued, researchers can independently audit the AI software. ®

 

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0.3
Facebook's Portal AR Feature Turns You Into Harry Potter Characters

Facebook is offering a way to express our inner wizards with a new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Curtain Call experience using Portal video calling devices in the US and UK. The augmented reality experience allows you to transfigure into characters from the play and virtually hang out at Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic, or the Forbidden Forest during Portal-to-Portal video calls. There's 12 augmented reality masks of the play's most popular characters available, which Facebook created using its Spark AR technology. Real-time skin sampling matches the 3D character to your skin tone before creating the on-screen mask. To initiatie the experience, tap "Curtain Call" in the effects tray on Portal and select a location to visit. Each user is randomly assigned a character with a unique spell; nod your head or tap the screen to cast it. If you don't own a Portal device it's still possible to interact with the AR masks via Instagram or Facebook's in-app camera and share video and photos on the app's Stories. "This is one of the first times we've connected people's AR experiences across screens in a collaborative, multi-participant environment, where everyone can experience the AR effects simultaneously," according to a Facebook blog announcement. Outside the wizarding world, Facebook is expanding its Story Time library with new interactive AR tales, including the choose-your-own-adventure-like Build a Story and culinary extravaganza Extra Ordinary Cafe. Activate Story Time on your Portal smart display during a call (or just while sitting together in the same room) to read along with on-screen text and prompts.

 

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0.5
Sony A90J OLED TV review

Sony certainly hasn’t held back in pricing its new A90J 4K HDR OLED TV – but this 55-inch version most certainly has the performance to justify the price. Picture quality, from any source, is about as good as it currently gets from 4K screens. In every meaningful department – motion control, contrast, edge definition, detail levels, you name it – the XR-55A90J puts in a memorably accomplished shift. And for those moments when you’re reduced to watching sub-4K content, it’s a really adept upscaler too. The Sony A90J OLED is more than a few steps ahead when it comes to sound quality, too. Using the entire surface of the screen as a speaker is still novel and effective, and backing it up with two conventional bass drivers means the XR-55A90J sounds fuller, more direct and just, well, better than any alternative that doesn’t feature an off-board sound system. Add in a smart new Google TV interface, the usual Sony standard of build and finish, feet that change position to accommodate a soundbar, an exclusive movie streaming service, and an authentically well-designed remote control – ignoring the inexplicable lack of UK TV catch-up services – and the XR-55A90J looks like the complete package. And complete packages seldom come cheap. The Sony XR-A90J range of OLED TVs is on sale now. It’s available in 65-inch ($3,799 / £3,499 / AU$4,999) and whopping 83-inch ($7,999 / £6,999) versions, while the 55-inch version we’re testing here will set you back $2,799 / £2,699. This is, no two ways about it, a premium price when you consider (for instance) the LG C1 we called “the current king of TVs” will set you back $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$3,499 for the 55-inch model. Only the 65-inch pricing is confirmed in Australia for now. Viewed head-on, the Sony A90J OLED is exactly what you want and expect from an expensive new TV: next-to-no bezel intrusion and an awful lot of screen. The Sony A90J is an interesting case, because as well as being wall-mountable it also features feet that work in a couple of positions. They can either leave the bottom of the screen near-flush against the surface it’s standing on (although it’ll need to be a wide surface, as in the instance the feet are actually beyond the edges of the frame), or they can lift the screen high enough to fit a soundbar beneath it. From the side, it’s OLED business as usual – which means the Sony is an impressively slim 6mm deep, but only for a little while. The rest of the time it’s a touch over 4cm, because it has to keep its electronics, its speaker drivers and what-have-you somewhere. It’s hardly a bloater, and will look good on the wall – but it’s worth bearing in mind that both LG (with its ‘Gallery’ series of OLED TVs) and Samsung (with its equally new Neo QLED MiniLED alternative) will sell you a screen that sits far flusher against a wall. On the inside, the Sony is specified to justify that price-tag. Certainly you get your money’s-worth in terms of inputs and outputs: four HDMI inputs (two of which feature quite a lot of HDMI 2.1 compatibility), three USBs, an Ethernet socket, binding posts for two TV tuners and even composite video inputs should be enough to satisfy even the most demanding user. Naturally enough there’s Wi-Fi connectivity too. The two most talented HDMI inputs are 4K/120Hz, ALLM and 48Gbps-enabled, and one of them can handle eARC too. There’s no support for VRR as yet, though. Sony’s PS5 games console doesn’t support VRR as yet, either, but the competing Xbox Series X console most certainly does. It seems likely any serious Xbox gamers will gravitate towards LG’s range of OLED TVs, where complete HDMI 2.1 compatibility has been the norm for quite a while now. Sony is not alone among TV manufacturers in refusing to offer every major HDR standard, though admittedly we feel the lack of HDR10+ here less than we feel the lack of Dolby Vision on some new Samsung TVs. (Philips and Panasonic, of course, don’t make you choose.) The picture is handled by Sony’s new XR processor, which takes the AI capability of the outgoing X1 processor and adds in something Sony calls “cognitive intelligence”. So (in theory, at least) you get machine-learning algorithms that enhance picture performance, plus more in-depth scene analysis across multiple zones based on the contrast, color, detail, depth of images and all of the other image components. The idea, of course, is to serve up the most lifelike and convincing images possible. On the audio side, Sony is persevering with its Acoustic Surface Audio+ arrangement. Backed up by two rear-firing low-frequency drivers, this technology uses actuators to turn the entire surface of the screen into a speaker. It’s an impressive setup – and Sony’s so keen on the whole concept the A90J actually features speaker connections on its rear panel in case you want to use your TV as the centre channel of a surround-sound set-up. Will anyone really lament Sony’s decision to ditch Android TV in favour of Google TV as its smart interface? Certainly Google TV’s implementation on the A90J makes for a more responsive and logical experience – it’s altogether friendlier and more useful. As well as the obligatory Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and Apple TV streaming service apps (and quite a few others), Sony’s also incorporated its Bravia Core movie-streaming service into the Google TV interface. It’s a genuinely worthwhile feature, with a stack of available content and the ability to stream in very high quality if your broadband is up to it – there’s even some IMAX Enhanced content on there. It’s just a pity that selecting an IMAX Enhanced movie doesn’t automatically select the TV’s ‘IMAX Enhanced’ picture mode. The Sony’s set-up menus are a model of clarity, but there should really be no need to delve into them for reasons like this. UK customers will be perturbed to find no sign of iPlayer, All4, ITV Hub or any other catch-up TV service here. Sony is promising a fix that will add them ‘later’ in 2021 – but we were disappointed that LG left out these services on its 2020 screens, and we’re disappointed to see the same here, even temporarily, given there’s no firm date or reassurance it’ll be relatively soon after launch. Navigating the Google TV interface, set-up menus and all the rest is done using a redesigned remote control handset. It feels good in the hand, isn’t overburdened with buttons and even has some (very welcome) backlighting to aid visibility. It seems only polite to start the test with some content from Sony’s Bravia Core streaming service – and while broadband speeds around here aren't always enough to guarantee the highest-quality ‘Pure Stream’, Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, with its IMAX Enhanced certification, looks little short of superb. There just isn’t an aspect of picture-making at which the A90J doesn’t excel. It’s remarkably bright by the standards of OLED TVs (LG has managed to pull off a similar trick with its ‘evo’ OLED panel – and as we all know, LG supplies raw OLED panels to every other TV brand that wants them). The Sony A90J is staggeringly detailed in any and all circumstances. The color palette from which it draws is wide, nuanced and unquestionably natural. The black tones it creates are deep and lustrous in the classic OLED manner, but they’re also simply loaded with detail – allied to the crisp and equally detailed white tones the A90J serves up, contrasts are about as wide and convincing as you’ll see from an OLED screen. Management of even the most testing scenes is cast-iron. Christopher Plummer’s J. Paul Getty wears a classic hunting tweed during the first third of this movie, and the A90J keeps an absolute grip of the tight, high-contrast pattern – even when it’s moving. In fact, the Sony proves outstanding at handling on-screen motion of any and every kind. Slow pans, fast movement, whatever – the Sony controls it and describes it without shimmer, or hesitation, or ghosting, or any of the other vices less capable TVs can indulge in. This is particularly evident when catching up with some Euro 2020 football on BBC One HD (not iPlayer, with its 4K UHD streams, sadly), where the A90J upscales the HD broadcast in a natural manner, maintaining smooth motion for the movement of the ball – even if it’s moving in the opposite direction to the way the camera is panning. Huge swathes of uniform color (or ‘the pitch’, as it’s sometimes called) present no problems, and even though it’s doing a mighty amount of upscaling the Sony makes skin-tones and textures look life-like and detailed. If there’s a more accomplished TV than this currently available at anything like this price, well, we’ve yet to see it. This isn’t the first time we’ve been impressed by Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ and it seems unlikely to be the last. It’s one of the very best sound systems incorporated into a television - by which we mean it’s about the most convincing, most articulate and most believable-sounding television you can buy. A lot of this is down to the fact that the entire screen is contributing – it means images and sounds are married far more closely than with other systems. Where dialogue in particular is concerned, the direct nature of the audio delivery helps the cinematic feel of the presentation no end. By the standards of television audio systems, the A90J is a notably punchy and genuinely dynamic performer. It can generate actual low-frequency impact, thanks to that pair of rear-firing drivers, and is difficult for even the most explosion-happy blockbuster to fluster. But it almost goes without saying the Sony A90J’s audio quality (impressive though it is by prevailing standards) doesn’t really hold a candle to its picture quality. So where we normally say a good TV requires a half-decent soundbar, the Sony A90J OLED deserves a really decent one.

 

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0.6
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 review

If you’re looking for a running shoe that you can use for just about everything – trail running, road running, hiking, as well as casual use around town and for work – the great looking New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 could be for you. For those long weekend runs, thanks to the 28mm of cushioning on the heel and 20mm on the forefoot, it offers a very comfortable, soft and forgiving ride, yet it's still just about agile enough for those regular shorter park training sessions too. A Vibram Megagrip outsole means it also has fantastic grip so you can throw it on and be sure-footed in all weather. You’ll also be well set on trails too, although its lugs are on the smaller side, so perhaps consider another option if you run on super muddy, or technical and steep trails. Thanks to a breathable synthetic mesh upper, the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 also has good ventilation for all day use and your foot sits nice and secure. Granted, at 340g it's certainly not lightweight, but with its comfort, grip and solid build quality, you’ll soon forget about the weight and clock up hundreds of niggle-free miles. This newly updated model was released on April 15 2021, and is priced at $135 / £125 (about AU$180). Intended for trail running use, this rugged-looking shoe features a fuller specification to ensure it withstands off road rigors. The downside of this is its weight – at 340g, it's on the heavier side, but given the comfort and protection it offers, that heft is fully justified. New Balance’s Fresh Foam midsole underfoot brings really nice comfort that’ll be welcome to all runners. A Vibram MegaGrip outsole offers one of the best grips going, plus it’s really durable to help bring a long life to the shoe. The upper is straightforward – a synthetic mesh with some perforations in the toe box area for cooling, and some extra protection around the heel and toe. New Balance has taken strides to be eco-friendly, with recycled materials used for the collar and tongue, including cork on the tongue tag. It's also partnered with 1% for the Planet, meaning 1% of net sales of this shoe will be donated to organizations that are working on climate change and protecting public lands. Oh, and it looks great too. Straight out of the box, the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 is a joy to use. The whole shoe - simple synthetic upper, comfortable midsole and grippy outsole - has been well throughout and executed to create a brilliant package. The upper is made from what could be described as a more conventional upper material. It’s a synthetic mesh that's pretty breathable, which means you can wear it all day (for chores even, or at your desk) without getting uncomfortable hot and sweaty feet. It's on the softer side when running, thereby minimizing the chances of rubbing. There's some extra protective material overlaid around the toe area, and the heel has a sturdier patch stitched on to protect you from rocks if you’re off road. A generously sized loop on the heel cup and a loosely gusseted tongue means the shoe is easy to take on and off. Once laced up, it sits securely in place, and there's an extra eyelet if you like to lock the laces in place. The Fresh Foam midsole does exactly what it claims to, bringing a really comfortable ride with a touch of responsiveness too. There are some diamond like notches places on the sides of the midsole which brings a nice aesthetic. This midsole makes the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 a great option for regular use and clocking up high miles, and would even work brilliantly for commuting to work too, laden with a backpack of gear. The Vibram MegaGrip outsole is great as well – no complaints here – and you’ll be as sure footed as you can be in any shoe, even on wet ground. The lugs aren’t hugely generous, so you could find a lack of traction in super muddy or loose gravel trails, but for more regular countryside tracks and off road paths, it's perfect. First reviewed July 2021

 

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0.0
Rainbow Six Siege mid-season update brings operator balances to Test Server

Rainbow Six Siege developers at Ubisoft are introducing a mid season update that brings a set of changes to not just some under and overpicked operators, but some more than effective weapons as well. The Y6S2.2 designer notes go into detail about the balancing changes that’ll come with the Y6S2.2 patch and give you an insight into the reasons behind these changes. The developers have shared the updated Attacking and defending operator pick and ban rates which provides an insight into what the players are choosing to play with. With those charts in mind the developers have introduced some changes to operators that include Alibi, Frost, Tachanka, Zofia. Alibi now has an added 2.0x scope to ACS12 with the 1.5x scope removed and the 1.5x scope added to MX4 Storm. The devs reason that despite having a solid mix of utility, including a solid primary weapon and secondary shotgun, deployable shield and impacts, and high speed, her presence in the Balancing Matrix is still low. Frost has had her 1.5x scope from the C1 removed because in her current state, Frost has the highest win delta of all the Defenders and possesses a very high kill/death ratio when compared against other Defenders. Tachanka has quite a few changes that include the addition of a Deployable Shield while removing the Proximity Alarm and increased Shumikha Launcher total ammunition to 14 from 10. The destruction capabilities of the DP-27 LMG has also been improved. According to the devs, Tachanka has a very low presence in the Balancing Matrix, with one of the reasons being that his Shumikha Launcher tends to be quite situational and can be unsafe to fire since it renders him defenseless. The additional total ammunition and Deployable Shield should offer more flexibility. Zofia has had a strong presence and he is topping the pick charts right now hence her M762 recoil has been modified to be harder to control. This means an increased vertical recoil which has been done to bring her more in line with other operators. Nøkk's balancing rework making her stealthier has been abandoned by Ubisoft for the moment. The ACS12 and TCSG-12 weapons are getting a boost with increased damage to 69 from 59 and 63 from 57 respectively.

 

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0.8
Airbyte’s AWS S3 connector brings open source data integration to data lakes

Open source data integration platform Airbyte has announced its first data lake integration, allowing users to replicate data from myriad sources to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3). The San Francisco-based startup said that it plans to support data lakes from “other cloud providers” — including Databricks’ open source Delta Lake — soon. Businesses of all sizes have an abundance of data spread across myriad tools such as CRM, marketing, customer support, and product analytics. While accessing the data isn’t the problem, deriving meaningful insights from data stored in different locations and formats is — so businesses have to combine it in a centralized location and transform it into a common format that makes it easier to analyze. Historically, a typical process to achieve this would be what is known as “extract, transform, load” (ETL), which involves transforming the data before it arrives in a central data warehouse — this made more sense with expensive on-premises storage, even though the transformation process could be painfully slow and the user would often have to re-extract the data if their needs changed. The modern alternative — “extract, load, transform” (ELT) — allows companies to transform the raw data on-demand when it’s already in the warehouse. This has been enabled through the lower costs attributed to modern cloud-based storage and computation platforms such as Databricks, Snowflake, Google’s BigQuery, and Amazon’s Redshift. Airbyte is chiefly concerned with the “EL” part of ELT, though it also supports the transformation phase through integrations with third-party tools such as dbt. The company recently launched its Connector Development Kit ( CDK) to enable businesses to create their own custom data source connectors, however it also offers dozens of pre-built connectors. This make it easier for companies to create data pipelines, and transport their data from sources such as CRMs (e.g. Salesforce), databases (e.g. MySQL, PostreSQL), and analytics (e.g. Amplitude) to destinations including databases (e.g. BigQuery), data warehouses (e.g. Snowflake) and — now — data lakes. Data lakes and date warehouses serve very distinct purposes — the former houses raw, unstructured data which is more flexible but storage-intensive, while the latter is all about structured data that has already been processed and filtered for specific use-cases as determined by the company. Thus, Airbyte’s decision to support S3 makes sense, given that it needs to open itself to as many potential data integration scenarios as possible. Open source data integration tools have been big news of late. Last week GitLab announced it was spinning out its open source ELT (extract, load, transform) platform Meltano as a standalone business, a project that is setting out to achieve something similar to Airbyte. Moreover, as an independent business, Meltano has also managed to attract some big-name investors including Alphabet’s GV and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. Elsewhere, Dbt Labs (formerly Fishtown Analytics) last week raised $150 million at a $1.5 billion valuation to build out its open source dbt data transformation tool, which both Meltano and Airbyte leverage in their respective products. Airbyte, for its part, has raised north of $31 million in the past few months, starting with a $5.2 million seed raise in March followed shortly after by a $26 million series A round less than three months later. The open source data ETL industry, it seems, is heating up. For now, Airbyte’s core product is the free and MIT-licensed community edition, though it eventually plans to go commercial through a hosted cloud incarnation, with an additional enterprise-grade offering in the works too.

 

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2.1
U. S. Regulators Want Elevator Company to Issue Recall After 2-Year-Old's Death

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has filed an administrative complaint against Germany-based elevator company thyssenkrupp Access Corp., alleging serious defects that have resulted in the death of one child and serious injury to two others over the past decade. According to the CPSC, thyssenkrupp has refused to issue a recall. The CPSC alleges several models of thyssenkrupp elevators (yes, the company name is lowercase for some reason) contain a “hazardous gap between the exterior hoistway door and the interior elevator car door or gate.” The gap is large enough for children to fit inside and the CPSC notes a 2-year-old died in 2017, a 3-year-old was left permanently disabled in 2010, and a 4-year-old was hospitalized after being crushed in a thyssenkrupp elevator in 2019. “These injuries and deaths are ghastly,” said Acting Chairman of the CPSC Robert Adler said in a statement. “The gaps in residential elevators are truly a hidden hazard for homeowners, and for anyone who is visiting or renting a home with an elevator.” The elevator models include: Chaparral, Destiny, LEV, LEV II, LEV II Builder, Rise, Volant, Windsor, Independence, and Flexi-Lift. The administrative complaint is an extraordinary move by the CPSC, which faces tremendous hurdles when it encounters a company that isn’t very cooperative. CPSC notes in its press release that “thyssenkrupp has refused to conduct a voluntary recall of the hazardous residential elevators” and the Commission voted 3-1 to move forward with the complaint. Section 6B of the Consumer Product Safety Act, added by Congress in 1981, hampers the ability of CPSC to do many things, including issuing a recall without the consent of the company in question. Even the wording of press releases issued in the event of a recall have to be negotiated with a company—a bizarre requirement for a democratic country. That’s presumably why the CPSC has announced an administrative action, rather than a recall, which it’s legally prohibited from doing without thyssenkrupp’s permission. “ CPSC urges consumers to disable or block children’s access to the thyssenkrupp residential elevators to prevent a potential deadly incident,” the government agency said in a state ment published online Wednesday. Both the CPSC and thyssenkrupp did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday but Gizmodo will update this post if we hear back.

 

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0.4
Best VR headset 2021: Oculus Quest 2, PSVR, Valve Index and more

Finding the best VR headset of 2021 isn’t as easy as it sounds. The competition is fierce, with untethered headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 going up against PC-based systems, like the Valve Index. We’re already hearing rumours regarding the PSVR 2 headset and the Oculus Quest 3, which will shake things up even more. There are four main players when it comes to mainstream VR headsets: Oculus, which recently released the new Oculus Quest 2; PlayStation, which has its PSVR headset; HTC, who is behind the Vive and Vive Pro; and Valve, which released its own first-party headset called the Valve Index in 2019. The decision of which VR headset to buy can be difficult. The silver lining is that all of these options have great things to offer users – both beginners and VR veterans. Not only are there more options than ever, but their quality continues to rise, making it a great time for consumers to invest. It’s just about finding the best VR headset for you, your space, your needs and your budget. There's a lot to consider, but we're here to help. We’ve selected the best VR headsets below for different kinds of tech-lovers, from headsets ideal for wireless virtual experiences with a small space and a modest budget to a PS5 VR experience to match your new next-gen console or the best-of-the-best PC-powered device that knows no bounds. Not all VR headsets are created equal, though, and not all virtual reality games or experiences are available across every headset. If your heart is set on playing a specific VR game you've heard great things about, you'll need a headset that hooks up to a PC, for instance – and you'll need that high-end PC in the first place, too. VR software libraries do have plenty of overlap across devices, however, and some wire-free headsets, like the Oculus Quest 2, can optionally be linked up to a PC over a cable to expand the titles they have access to. You'll also have to factor price into your decision (which can make the PlayStation VR look awfully appealing) and you'll have to consider where in your house – or even outside your house, potentially – you want to use the headset. There’s little doubt that the Valve Index is the next-generation VR headset people have been clamoring for: it has an ultra-crisp display that runs fairly well even with older GPUs, a wider field of view, a higher refresh rate and Valve’s 'knuckle' controllers, which can track the movement of every finger. That's why, at least right now, it's our best VR headset for 2021 and our best VR headset for PC owners. There’s little doubt the Valve Index will be our default VR headset going forward. It’s a significant upgrade to the HTC Vive, and runs much smoother than the Vive Pro, a powerful VR headset that really struggled to deliver on the promise of high-end, room-scale VR. And yet, while the Valve Index is one of the best VR headsets yet released, it’s brought some of VR’s most annoying aspects along for the ride. Setting it up can be painful, updates can cause connection issues, and you may find a new error the next time you go to use it. You'll also need one of the best laptops for VR – this isn't a standalone headset like others in this list. But, if you can look past those issues, this is a really good VR headset. Its higher-resolution screen and better refresh rate allowed us to use it for longer periods of time without discomfort, and the Index Controllers are a real step up from the ones that ship with the Vive. It is expensive, of course, and stock can be frustratingly hard to come by. Valve CEO Gabe Newell has stated that necessary components for the headset manufactured in Wuhan, China haven't been readily available during the pandemic, so that doesn't look to be changing anytime soon. For gamers who want next-level VR, though, and don't mind waiting until supply picks up, the Valve Index is a decision you likely won't regret. Otherwise, we recommend checking out one of the other options below... Read the full review: Valve Index If you’re looking for a VR headset that doesn’t need to be wired up to an expensive PC and offers a lot of movement and freedom, then the Quest 2 is the best VR headset for you. In fact, for the majority of people, this is the best VR headset on the list for a whole range of reasons. It’s a significant improvement over the original Quest, with a more responsive experience thanks to improved RAM and chip specs, and a higher resolution display that’s 50% sharper than its predecessor. Developers now have the option to make their games run at 90Hz (important for increased comfort and realism while playing), and the headset itself is lighter than before, too. Hand tracking – which came to the original Quest via a firmware update, but is baked into the Quest 2 from the off – is also impressive. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of wirefree VR. Games like Robo Recall and Beat Saber should still amaze, and, in an age of social isolation, turning YouTube VR into your own personal IMAX screen is a welcome distraction from the madness of the outside world. Although the Oculus Quest 2 is our top pick for the best VR headset that's wire-free and standalone, the original Oculus Quest is still a great choice if you're looking for an untethered VR headset that doesn't need an expensive computer to power it. The Quest 2 might bring a significant upgrade, but the original still boasts an OLED display panel with 1440 x 1600 per eye resolution, and is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor. Expect to see an Oculus Quest 3 before long, too. Read the full review: Oculus Quest 2 There's no getting around the fact that in order to run either the HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro or the Oculus Rift you need a pretty high-end gaming PC, which is not an insignificant investment for most people. That's not the case with Sony's PlayStation VR, which requires little more than a PS4 console to run. So if you already have a PS4 or PS5 console, this is by far the best VR headset for you. Considering the sizeable difference in power between the PS4 and PC, the PlayStation VR is a surprisingly competent VR headset. Its refresh rate is responsive, and we've had no issues with the reliability of its head-tracking. Thanks to Sony's backing, the collection of PlayStation VR games is also impressive. There were dozens available at launch, and many more have followed over its first year on sale. Sony has addressed one of our biggest objections with the PlayStation VR – that its accessories are sold separately – by offering a variety of packs and PlayStation VR bundles with devices like the PlayStation Camera included. However, PlayStation Move controllers, while included in some bundles, aren't in every one. While you have to be aware of the additional cost involved, depending on what bundle you opt for, recent price cuts have made the PlayStation VR even more affordable. It may not be the best VR headset, but the PSVR is certainly making a strong case to users and some will find it's the best for them at this moment in time. Though it's been announced, we don't know when or in what form a PSVR 2 model will emerge, so the original headset is still the best VR headset option for 2021. Read the full review: PlayStation VR Virtual reality has come on in leaps and bounds since Oculus founder (and controversial VR poster boy) Palmer Luckey first introduced the world to the Oculus Rift back in 2012. Now owned by Facebook, the Oculus Rift S should represent the next leap forward for the company’s high-end, PC-based virtual reality experiences - but, unfortunately, it's more of a baby-step. Like the Oculus Rift, the Rift S works in tandem with a PC to deliver virtual reality experiences. It connects to your PC over a USB 3.0 port and a DisplayPort connection, and is tethered to the machine by a lengthy cable that’s more than enough to accommodate the ‘room-scale’ experiences that Rift S is capable of delivering. It’s more limiting in terms of free movement than the superb wireless Oculus Quest, but the trade off here is that, by being powered by your PC, it’s capable of powering more detailed and dynamic experiences. The good news for early adopters is that, to reduce frustration, Oculus has made the Rift S completely backwards compatible with the original Rift titles, and making the Rift forward compatible with the vast majority of games released for the Rift S and Oculus Quest with some minor exceptions. This has long been one of the best VR headsets to buy if you have a PC – it even betters the original Oculus Rift. It’s easier to set up, potentially more comfortable to wear, has a much more robust games library than it did at launch, and an improved resolution. But, unfortunately, Oculus has had to sacrifice greater audio and refresh rate to do that. UPDATE: In July 2021 Oculus announced that the Oculus Rift S is now no longer available to buy. At the time of writing, you can still get stock at some retailers that haven't sold out already but it's officially not being sold anymore after it was discontinued earlier in the year. Read the full review: Oculus Rift S Choosing the best VR headset for you will mostly depend on the price, the platform and your preferences. There aren't any headsets for console gamers besides PlayStation VR and, if you need a standalone headset, you're basically stuck with the Oculus Quest or Quest 2 – not that that's a bad thing. At the moment, the four best VR headset range on the market – the Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Quest 2 and PlayStation VR – are unsurprisingly the most expensive of all the mainstream VR headset offerings. However, there are some less expensive VR options if you'd rather dip your toes into virtual reality before spending your entire paycheck on one of the best VR headsets above. It's also worth noting that the Oculus Quest 2 saw a downward trend on its price compared to its predecessor too, suggesting that as the scale of the VR audience ramps up, the price of the hardware will slowly come down, too. Each of the best VR headsets has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and if you're not aware of these before you buy, it could be a very costly mistake to make. But that's exactly why we put this guide together. With many offering different experiences, different hardware, different requirements and a lot of fantastic deals, choosing the best VR headset for you can confuse matters even more. The good news for those serious about getting the best VR headset experience is that the industry has made real strides in terms of making standalone headsets almost as powerful as their premium PC counterparts. Thanks to increased competition between the three big headset makers, they have made most of their headsets much more affordable than they were three years ago. Translation? Choosing the best VR headset that’s right for you is now easier than ever. The VR headset space is more like the games console space than say the headphone or phone space. What we mean by that is there aren’t tens (or even hundreds) of different brands to choose from creating VR headsets – at least not right now – like there is if you needed a new smartphone or pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Instead, there are a few core brands with immersive reality teams, hardware know-how and software smarts to create truly wonderful virtual reality experiences. That means, if you’re not choosing one of the VR headsets above, it makes sense to look at previous headsets launched by the best VR brands instead. You won’t necessarily still find all of these headsets to buy on the company website. But many are still available to buy new via tech retailers or second-hand, via sites like Ebay. Oculus Quest The successor to the Oculus Quest, the Oculus Quest 2, is one of our best VR headsets of 2021. But that doesn’t mean the Oculus Quest isn’t still a viable VR option if you want to try a standalone headset that offers a truly mobile experience. What’s more, the Oculus Quest 2 might be the superior headset, but upgrades between the first and second model weren’t as significant as you might expect. With the Quest you still get an all-in-one VR system that works straight out of the box and offers six-degrees of freedom and a huge selection of apps and games. Oculus Rift Upon release, the Oculus Rift felt like a game-changer. One of the first VR headsets to prove that VR could be a highly immersive and enjoyable experience – one that even people with the right PC set-up could experience at home. That’s changed now the original Oculus Rift is nearly five years old and has since been surpassed by the Oculus Rift S. Although the Rift S is already following in the original Rift's footsteps after being discontinued. Although since the launch of the original Oculus Rift there have been a number of competing virtual reality headsets launched, including headsets by Oculus itself, like the Oculus Rift S or standalone Quest and Quest 2, the original Oculus Rift is still a very capable VR headset for gaming, and now it’s no longer officially available from Oculus, you can find some tempting deals. HTC Vive First launched in 2016, the HTC Vive was one of the earliest premium VR headsets available to consumers. And, for a long time afterwards, it was the king of consumer VR tech. Fast-forward to 2021 and a lot has changed. Now, there are multiple VR headset options you could buy right now. Since the launch of this original HTC Vive, HTC has also launched a number of new VR headsets, including the HTC Vive Cosmos and HTC Vive Cosmos Elite. What’s more, there’s likely to be an upgrade to the HTC Vive we’re reviewing here right around the corner. A top HTC official said the company plans on producing a new wireless, standalone VR headset in 2021 that is “probably better than what’s out there from any vendor today”. But that doesn’t mean to say that the original HTC Vive isn’t still a solid option for starting your VR journey – it’s just worth considering it’s a good few years older than some of the newer models entering the market. Mobile VR is a term used to describe a VR experience powered by your phone. Generally speaking, you get an app on your phone, which shows you VR content and then you put your phone inside a mobile VR headset. For many people, this is a quick, easy and very cheap way to try VR and can be a great first step in exploring what’s possible. If you’re not ready to commit to one of the best VR headsets – or not sure you’re even that interested in VR – consider mobile VR like the Samsung Gear VR or go really lo-fi with the Google Cardboard. However, given the fact these VR experiences are powered by your phone rather than a fantastic piece of high-end hardware means they can’t compare to the experience you’d get with any of the best VR headsets above. That means if you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to try VR, they’re a solid option. But don’t let the simple experience and – sometimes – grainy pictures put you off VR for good. Right now, there are a number of augmented reality headsets on the market. But very few are aimed at regular consumers. Many of the best augmented reality headsets, like the Microsoft Hololens 2, are available to buy but the focus seems to be more on augmented reality for an enterprise or business setting, like the Microsoft HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition, which is an untethered mixed reality device designed and tested for use in regulated industrial environments and the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2. But we predict this will change soon and you'll be able to get one of the best augmented reality headsets for casual use in your home – just like the best VR headsets in our list above. One reason we're so sure about the future of augmented reality headsets is that major tech brands are currently pumping a lot of time, energy and resources into new AR offerings. Take Apple as an example, it's no secret Apple is working on an augmented reality and virtual reality product - referred to at the moment as Apple Glass and Apple VR.

 

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0.7
3 amazing companies that are planning hiring sprees this year

Are you looking for a new job at the moment? We have some great news — loads of brilliant companies are hiring this summer, all over the U. S. and beyond. This week, we wanted to highlight some really cool companies that are planning hiring sprees in the coming months. Check them out and be sure to apply if they’re your scene. At Rheaply, they’re building technology to enable organizations to achieve full utilization of their physical assets, thereby reducing costs and waste by keeping valuable resources in circulation. Launched in 2016, Rheaply’s Asset Exchange Manager (AxM) is the easiest way that professionals share materials and resources with anyone in their industry. By connecting leading research institutions, Fortune 500 companies, government, school systems, nonprofits, startups, and other organizations in between, Rheaply is creating a shared economy for innovation. Rheaply is a great place to work, offering all employees great perks and benefits. You can ensure that you’ll be paid fairly for your work and on par with industry standards. Whether you want some time to travel or just need a day off, their unlimited (yep, you read that right) PTO policy grants you the freedom to do so. They offer great insurance coverage for you and your family — at little to no premium cost for you! On top of all that, they want their employees to be at the top of their game. A wide variety of continuing education opportunities are covered by the company. Keep a close eye on their careers page for exciting opportunities. Workday came about by asking some pretty simple questions. Why is enterprise software so hard to use? What do businesses need to support change? And how can people have more time back for what really matters? This curiosity led to the creation of something new — a finance, HR, and planning system that evolves as business evolves, and a company that’s out to do right by employees, customers, and the world. Workday partners closely with their customers to understand their needs. Then they innovate like crazy to give them the technology to get there. Together, they’re shaping the future of work. At Workday, they value inclusion, belonging, and equity. Find out what we’re doing to build a more equitable workplace and world. At Workday, employees have been number one — since day one. Their founders knew that a unique corporate culture would differentiate them and serve as a foundation for success. They set out to create an amazing workplace for all. One where everyone is valued, heard, inspired, and encouraged to bring their full selves to work. It’s what Workday life is all about. Interested in joining the Workday ranks? Pop over to their page now and learn more! Rock Content creates innovative marketing solutions and services designed to build content experiences at scale. They help brands drive revenue and build awareness by unleashing collaboration with Studio, their marketing resource management platform; connecting marketers with a global network of vetted creative talent, so they can efficiently scale their content creation; and delivering premium experiences to their audience by using Ion, their platform to create and publish premium interactive experiences, and Stage, their world-class WordPress hosting created for marketers. Rock Content exists to enable growth opportunities for customers and creative talent networks. They are a mission-driven, culture-first company, where they know people are their number one resource. They work hard to live their culture in practice, guided by five core values, which they all work together to preserve: learn, teach, solve, grow, and collaborate. But success is not only measured by economic returns — their business growth allows them to execute on their mission, and that’s why they care about it. Right now, the Rock Content family is a team of over 400 Rockers in 20 countries, achieving this goal together.2021 is looking to be a big year for Rock Content, so keep a close eye on them.

 

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1.0
Colorful's first laptop is an RTX 3060-powered machine inspired by Chinese mythology

What just happened? Chinese manufacturer Colorful has been making headlines recently with some interesting projects and products. Joining the latter list is the Colorful X15-AT, an RTX 3060-powered gaming laptop with a design inspired by ancient Chinese mythology. Known chiefly for its graphics cards, motherboards, and storage solutions, Colorful is adding gaming laptops to its repertoire with the X15-AT, a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. It comes with some impressive specs for the price, including a 144Hz display with 100% sRGB coverage,300 nits peak brightness, and an 86% screen-to-body ratio. No mention of the resolution, but it’s presumably Full HD. Internally, the laptop features an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H with 8 cores/16 threads and a 4.6GHz boost clock. It also has 16GB of DDR4 3200MHz memory that can be upgraded to 64GB and a 512GB NVMe SSD rated with up to 2,400MB/s speeds. Elsewhere, there’s a Thunderbolt 4 port with up to 40Gbps transfer speeds, a card reader, an anti-skid RGB backlit keyboard with 1.8mm travel and a full Numpad, and a trackpad that Colorful says is 30% larger than what most rivals offer. It also uses the company’s new Storm Blade 3.0 cooling setup that comes with dual turbo fans,10nm Superfins, and a high-performance heatsink with five heat pipes. The CNC-milled aluminum chassis, which is 23.9mm (0.94 inches) thick and weighs 1.93kg (4.2 pounds), features a design inspired by Leizhenzi—a powerful thunder god from ancient Chinese mythology. The Colorful X15-AT gaming laptop has an MSRP of $1,199 and is coming to partner resellers in APAC in July 2021. Other regions will follow. That’s quite competitively priced for a thin and light RTX 3060 laptop with all those features, assuming you can find one for the MSRP. Last month saw Colorful launch a limited edition—only 1,000 are being made—iGame GeForce RTX 3090 Kudan for $4,999. It also unveiled the world’s first GPU museum alongside Nvidia.

 

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0.3
TP-Link Archer GX90 review

TP-Link’s Archer range is always a good option for people who are looking for an affordable upgrade for their home router. However, there are some high-end performance models also available in the range, including the recently released Archer GX90. Priced at £299.99, the GX90 is very much focused on the gaming market, providing tri-band Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11ax) with a top speed of 6.6Gbps. That’s not a bad price for a high-end router such as this, and the GX90 provides a number of additional features that will particularly appeal to serious gamers who are looking for a competitive edge. The GX90 costs AU$557.00 for customers in Australia but, somewhat oddly, the US opts for a different model called the AX90, which looks slightly different, but provides similar features and performance for $329.99. You will need a computer or other mobile device that supports Wi-Fi 6 in order to get maximum performance from the GX90, but the router will still be backwards-compatible with existing devices that use 802.11ac Wi-Fi too. Like all good gaming routers, the GX90 is festooned with an intimidating array of big, pointy antennae - eight, to be precise - that make it look like a Cylon battle cruiser from Battlestar Galactica. It’s big and bulky, and it’s going to need a bit of room around it to give those antennae a clear shot at beaming the Wi-Fi signal to the furthest reaches of the solar system (or your upstairs bedroom - whichever is nearest). There are three Gigabit Ethernet ports to provide a wired connection for a laptop, games console or set-top box, along with a fourth Gigabit Ethernet port that can double-up for a wired connection or for connecting to your existing modem or router in order to use its Internet connection. And, if you’re fortunate enough to have really super-fast broadband, there’s a fifth Ethernet port that supports 2.5Gb connections as well. The GX90 router also supports TP-Link’s OneMesh technology, which allows it to form a more extensive mesh network with other TP-Link routers, or range extenders such as its new RE650X. There are other Wi-Fi 6 routers now available that provide similar tri-band performance, but the GX90 stands out with a number of features that are clearly focused on gaming. Rather than simply creating two networks on the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands, the GX90 allows you to create a third network using the second 5.0GHz band, and to assign that third network to be your dedicated ‘Gaming Band’, with a speed of 4.8Gbps just for that band alone. There’s a QoS option - quality of service - that allows you to prioritise tasks such as gaming, streaming video, or downloading large files. And, if you don’t mind delving into the router’s web browser interface, there are diagnostic tools that can help you to monitor your gaming performance and also to prioritise the bandwidth allocated to individual devices, such as a gaming console or PC. The GX90 even provides good parental controls too, with scheduling options to limit the kids’ Internet use, and content filters to block adult web sites or other unsuitable material. But, if managing three separate Wi-Fi networks seems a bit daunting, there’s a ‘smartconnect’ option that allows you to merge them together into a single network and automatically connects your devices to the fastest frequency band that they can support. We did encounter some small hiccups when using the TP-Link Tether app to get started. Once the router is plugged in and connected, the app allows you to scan a QR code printed on the router so that you can automatically connect to its new Wi-Fi network. That worked smoothly, but we then kept getting error messages telling us that the router wasn’t connected to the Internet - even though we had already connected it to our existing broadband router. Only after delving through the app a little more did we find an option that requires you to specify which of the router’s two available Ethernet ports - 1Gb or 2.5Gb - is being used for the internet connection. That should really be part of the initial connection process, and the app’s habit of throwing around jargon such as ‘MAC address’ and ‘dynamic IP’ could also be a bit confusing for new users. However, more experienced users and gamers will appreciate the web browser interface that really allows you to delve into the network settings and fine-tune your gaming performance. The GX90 doesn’t disappoint on that score either. We tested all three of its Wi-Fi networks and - as expected - all three bands recorded strong performance with the Ookla speed test, hitting 100Mbps download and 11Mbps upload for devices located in the same room as the router that provides our broadband connection. The performance for Steam downloads was strong in that room too, cruising along effortlessly at the full 12.5MB/s supported by our office broadband connection - with the third ‘gaming band’ even nudging up to 13MB/s at times. That’s not surprising, but we were pleased to find that the performance of the GX90 remained rock solid on all three bands even when we moved to our back office, where the dodgy Wi-Fi normally forces us to rely on a couple of wired Powerline adapters instead. A high-end router such as this will probably be overkill for home users who simply want to watch Netflix and make the occasional Zoom call for work, but if you’re serious about gaming then the speed and features of the GX90 will really earn their keep.

 

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1.3
Avalanche: "Game Pass has been really great for us"

They aren't the first studio to share this sentiment. A few more details about the title announced during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase has been pouring out. Check out the announcement trailer here. No release date has been confirmed as of yet.

 

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0.8
Future of sports: Can AI do a better job than professional coaches?

Here's an interesting question: Could an AI do a better job coaching a professional sports franchise? We're certainly not there yet, but given how readily professional teams adopt technology to give their players an edge, that mind-bender might not be completely unthinkable in the years ahead. The concept recently got a test run thanks to, of all things, a sports betting website called SportsBettingDime, which enlisted OpenAI's latest text generator, GPT-3, to see if AI could emulate a head coach. The study ( full results here) prompted GPT-3 to generate motivational speeches, handle in-game scenarios, and promote team building, which is among the important functions of a head coach in many sports. The site then asked NBA and NFL superfans how GPT-3 performed. Corny as those movie moments may be, motivational speeches really are a key function of many coaches' jobs, rallying players with the right dose of reality or inspiration at the right moment. The study used GPT-3 to generate three separate speech snippets and then mixed in two real speeches from coaches. NFL and NBA fans were then asked for their unbiased opinions. "As opposed to tactics and gameplan, speeches are one of the more human responsibilities of a head coach that data can't answer. Surprisingly, AI seemed to hold its ground in providing motivation and emotional support, according to superfans," according to the study. In fact, the two of the AI speeches ranked highest in this admittedly loosely controlled test, receiving motivational ratings of 6.82 and 6.47, respectively. However, it must be noted that the third AI speech came in dead last, suggesting marked variability in outcome. Interestingly, the motivational value didn't necessarily equate to how human the speeches sounded, at least not to the fans who participated in the study. Both of the authentic human speeches were ranked as having likely been given by a real coach (77.8% and 66.3%, respectively), while AI speech realness ranged from 66.4% real-sounding to just 51%. The study also evaluated the AI's decision-making in game scenarios against the plays the superfans would have called. Scenarios were evaluated first in an NFL situation: Scenario A Scenario B The likewise evaluated play calling in high-pressure NBA scenarios: Scenario A Scenario B The study results, which, again, is hardly the kind of scientific evaluation needed even to approach answering the question, present some interesting anecdotal takeaways. As a motivational speaker, GPT-3 was surprisingly competent. However, when it came to designing specific play calls, AI seems not to have made the best decision in the eyes of those identified as superfans. However, AI was able to be decisive in scenarios where superfans were split, which points to one possible advantage to AI over humans: computers aren't emotional. They may be more able to act decisively (and quickly) in crucial moments. Will AI take over from your team's head coach? Probably no time soon. Should an AI take over when the technology reaches or exceeds a threshold of parity? Depending on how you did last season (or are doing this season), your answer may vary.

 

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0.9
Even Jump Ropes Are Getting Smart

Fitness trackers are now commonplace and the equipment we use to stay fit is becoming increasingly smart. The latest fitness equipment to get the smart treatment may surprise you, though. It's the jump rope. Hygear describes itself as a smart fitness company and already offers the Gear 1 smart home gym, but as Engadget reports, it just launched a smart jump rope called the Hyrope. It's exactly what you think it is: a jump rope with the ability to track your workouts and fitness goals via an app. The Hyrope offers interactive and personalized workouts with real-time feedback via the app. It's possible to set personal goals for upper body, lower body, and core strength, see workout statistics including jump count, speed, pace, and calorie burn, and stay motivated using a range of challenges and achievements. Hygear is promising to add new classes and programs "led by experts" every month. If jump rope is your thing, the Hyrope is now available for pre-sale costing $39 with free delivery, where as normally it costs $84. In the box you'll find two handles,3 meters of PVC-covered steel rope, two anti-slip rope locks, two rope tip covers, and a couple of AAA batteries. The cost includes access to the Hygear app for one year of membership. After that, the monthly membership costs $17, and according to the Hygear website it will renew automatically after your first year ends.

 

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0.3
"Decensor" mod restores Guilty Gear Strive's original China-related lore entry

Counter. A modder has restored Guilty Gear Strive's original China-related lore entry following a backlash to developer Arc System Works' decision to stealth remove it. As Eurogamer reported last week, a recent Guilty Gear Strive patch stealth removed reference to Uyghur, Tibet and Taiwan in a China-related lore entry. Neither Guilty Gear Strive publisher Bandai Namco nor developer Arc System Works have commented, despite repeated requests from Eurogamer. Strive includes an in-game glossary, which itself includes a large number of lore entries to help players understand its convoluted backstory. The lore entry in question, "International affairs after the Crusades", originally mentioned Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, and Uygher, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Mongolia and Siberia in its text. Two sentences were altered. Here's the first in original form: "Countries that had high population density and tended to import their foods, such as Korea, Taiwan and Singapore could not solve their nation's problems with the availability of energy alone." This became: "Countries that had high population density and tended to import their foods could not solve their nation's problems with the availability of energy alone." The second sentence in question was originally: "China has further expanded their borders to encompass Uygher, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Mongolia and Siberia - regions with lower populations but a lot of natural resources." This became: "The Federation of China has further expanded their borders to encompass nearby regions with lower populations but a lot of natural resources." Without comment from publisher or developer it's impossible to know the true reason for the change, but many have suggested it was influenced by the Chinese market. As Chris Tapsell reported as part of Eurogamer's sweeping investigation, Video games in China: beyond the great firewall, under Chinese law, video games can't contain anything that "threatens China's national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity", harm "the nation's reputation, security or interests" or include anything that "harms public ethics" or China's "culture and traditions". Why these countries specifically? China has been accused of committing crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against the Uyghur population. China has also been accused of "coercing" hundreds of thousands of people in Tibet into military-style training centres. And the Chinese government sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will, eventually, be part of the country again, whereas many Taiwanese disagree. Now, a modder known as KingKrouch has stepped in. Their mod restores the original log in Guilty Gear's glossary, including the mention of Uyghur, Tibet and Taiwan. The "GG-World Log 311 Decensor" mod is "for those who pre-ordered the game and already played enough to where they can't refund it to protest against corporations that support the human rights violations and colonisation that the P. R. C has been doing", KingKrouch wrote in accompanying text.

 

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0.3
Best plagiarism checkers of 2021

The best plagiarism checkers allow you to automatically check if your website content is being stolen or copied. This is important, because if you're running a blog or a website, manually checking every article submission for plagiarism can take a whole lot of time. It’s easy to think that a few slips here and there should your eyes miss some details as you scour through every article manually won’t cause too much harm, but damaging your reputation as a writer, or your blog’s reputation as a whole can be more serious than you think. That is of course if you want your blog to stay on the radar. If you’re keen on driving more traffic to your website for more sales leads, you should already know that copied content is dead weight in achieving your goal. Not only is it frowned upon, it is also illegal. While preventing the use of copied content can be easy if you’re the solo writer of the website you’re running, it can also be fairly difficult if you have multiple writers or contributors. Here then are the best plagiarism checkers currently available. Unicheck prides itself for being able to help 1 million users from over 90 countries across the globe. They’ve checked over 120 million files in the process, and with as little as four seconds for a similarity report, it’s no wonder they’re one of the best options not just for individuals but also for businesses and universities. One of their primary strengths include a set of features that make them stand out. These features include a Google Docs add-on so detection happens simultaneously as you’re writing. This means as you pour your thoughts into that Google Docs file, Unicheck will be highlighting citations and similarities at the same time. This ultimately saves you more time than you thought you could save. Aside from Google Docs, Unicheck also offers Add-Ons for Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, which you can use for convenience. Any sensitive data Unicheck receives from you is protected through their secure private cloud so nobody else can access it, and for superior scalability, simultaneous checks are done real-time even in bulk with relative time efficiency. Unicheck promises 99.9% uptime and chat, email and phone support available 24/5 should you encounter any difficulty while using it. Scribbr is one of the students’ best choices in plagiarism checkers in the market. Its accuracy is designed to detect any type of plagiarism present in your work as it is checked against their large source database. One of their most notable features is the Own Sources Checker so you can check for self or auto plagiarism easily. Though this comes with a fee, this add-on tool proves to be a big help especially for students who are publishing a manuscript but have no time to cross examine their work. Detailed plagiarism reports that include accurate plagiarism percentage, a report of sources that matched, access to settings to customize your report, and a guide to improve your text. Scribbr protects your privacy not just by securing their server cloud, but by not storing your files in any database at all. Scribbr is also known for their advanced software in detecting plagiarism to give you more accurate results each time you run a plagiarism check. Scribbr’s database includes journals and books, which gives them quite an advantage over other plagiarism checker alternatives. This is the reason why Scribbr is preferred by a vast number of students to detect plagiarism. Another reason is the ease in getting started: get your Word or PDF file uploaded, run the plagiarism checker, get a comprehensive plagiarism report where any similarity is highlighted with its corresponding source, and then you can get started in fixing your content. Scribbr also supports twenty languages. You’ve probably heard of Grammarly as a writing assistant. It detects grammar mistakes as you write when you have its extension installed on your Google Chrome browser. Not everyone is privy to Grammarly’s high quality plagiarism checker, though. Not only does it check for issues in your grammar or tone (this is a new feature), it also cross checks your material from over 16 billion web pages and ProQuest databases. This free service in itself provides accurate plagiarism checks every time. Social integrations for Grammarly have become very strong in their attempt to help you scan your work while you write emails, messages, documents, and even posts on Gmail, Yahoo, Slack, Google Docs, Jira, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. This is why after every plagiarism check, Grammarly offers you feedback on the structure of your work grammar-wise. Ease of use is one of the reasons users prefer Grammarly for plagiarism checks. As soon as you hit scan after pasting your content, Grammarly will let you know in an instant whether or not you have copied or unoriginal content, and paying for Premium will also grant you access to the resources you need so you can cite and credit properly, avoiding plagiarism altogether. PlagScan is well-known for its plagiarism detection and has been performing well since 2009. It gives you the options to either copy and paste your text or upload a file directly to start plagiarism detection. Utilizing Yahoo's BoSS-API to scan for plagiarism, each scan is as accurate as you need it to be. There are different plan options you can choose from to start scanning, depending on your needs. Lite, Professional and Enterprise plans are also available for monthly fees, ideal for business purposes. These plans can include URL checking, plagiarism checks, full reports, and customer support. All available plans are easy to use and understand, so you can cross match with how many pages you need checked. This flexibility is what makes PlagScan an excellent choice for both students and entrepreneurs alike. There are even plans for higher education, schools, and large enterprises. PlagScan lets you find the plan that’s custom fit to your needs. As you use PlagScan, you will be given access to a source list. Matches are then displayed in color coded reports, and you will appreciate its side by side reporting which shows you comparisons and your own work on a single screen as you type. It’s simple to use, accurate, secure and convenient. Quetext introduces us to their DeepSearch technology which is essentially using a more advanced technology for their algorithms to perform contextual analysis and word placement in plagiarism scans. This results in fast, accurate scans, making it a preferred choice by most bloggers, teachers, writers, professionals, etc. For a monthly fee, Quetext provides feedback that has corresponding color codes when it detects exact and unclear matches. You can have a side by side view of your text and matches so you can work while getting it scanned simultaneously, a feature that’s easy to pass off as common among plagiarism checkers, but is actually extremely convenient. Your text is then cross matched against billions of sources before your plagiarism score is handed over to you. Quetext’s free tool allows you to scan up to 2,500 words or five pages of documents along with the use of their ColorGrade feedback tool, contextual analysis, fuzzy matching and conditional scoring. A monthly fee gives you access to their premium features including 100,000 words or 200 pages, DeepSearch Extended, their exclusive citation assistant, a downloadable report, custom URL exclusion, Interactive Snippet Text, and premium support. Quetext does not store your files in any database, so you can be assured of your data’s security as you scan for plagiarism. Plagramme features real time plagiarism checking. The process starts with detection of the possible types of plagiarism - copy and paste plagiarism, invalid sources, mosaic plagiarism, auto plagiarism, etc. Once a report is generated, you will be given a similarity score where you can see the number of similarities found in your work. Any plagiarism or similarities detected are highlighted so you can go ahead and correct them. It’s simple and easy, and this is why students and educators alike prefer Plagramme. There is no word limit when you use Plagramme’s free software version so you can check for plagiarism across all your content. Writers, authors entrepreneurs, students and educators alike find Plagramme extremely helpful in checking for plagiarism. The evaluation gives you a percentage point which determines how much of your content is original, and how much is unoriginal. Plagramme also offers their advanced plagiarism checker for the convenience of research paper and thesis authors. Signing up for a free Plagramme account is fairly easy, and once you create your own account, you’re free to use the software and check away. With billions of indexed websites, Plagramme creates an in-depth report for a small fee which gives you a better look at the available sources you can cite to avoid committing plagiarism. The results and analysis are real-time and accurate, which you can then download for your convenience. Simply put, plagiarism is cheating. it refers to the act of copying one’s content and passing it off as your own. Grabbing someone’s photo and using it without permission and/or proper credits can be considered an act of plagiarism. Taking some text from a source and using it on your website without proper citation is also an act of plagiarism. In college, getting caught plagiarizing can lead to expulsion and can ultimately end any plans you have for your future. Stealing content for your own blog is not considered a form of flattery either, nor is it legal. Copying content for your own website can get you reported and your website taken down. There are a couple of ways to commit plagiarism, but here are the five most common types: As content is a vital ingredient in SEO ranking which is always a neck to neck competition, websites are usually trying to come up with more content than they likely would have expected to be needing. A team of writers usually solve the problem, but it’s also where a new problem arises - monitoring the content. Whether it’s an intentional copying of content or a missed citation, quote or credit, plagiarism isn’t as easy to detect if you’re dealing with tons of articles to check. The good news is that there are resources available - plagiarism checkers - that you can utilize to make it an easier task.

 

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1.0
Google Calendar invites are getting new RSVP options

Google Calendar invites will soon show you additional options to specify whether you’re attending a meeting in person or virtually. The new options will show up in a dropdown menu on the “Yes” button in the coming weeks. Google detailed the new RSVP options in a recent Google Workspace blog (via 9to5Google). As per the post, the feature will start rolling out to Rapid Release domains starting 8th July and Scheduled Release domains starting July 22nd. Once it shows up for you, you’ll notice a new dropdown menu on the “Yes” button in Google Calendar invites. The menu will include two new options — “Yes, in a meeting room” and “Yes, joining virtually”. If you select the “meeting room” option, a door icon will show up next to your name on the invite. Similarly, a video camera icon will show up next to your name if you select the “joining virtually” option. These icons will help other users easily identify how you will be attending the meeting. Do note that if you select the new RSVP options, the join method details won’t be shared with contacts on other platforms like Microsoft Outlook. The new RSVP invites will first show up for Google Calendar users later this month. Google also plans to roll them out to Gmail soon, but the company hasn’t shared an exact timeline for the same. It’s also worth noting that the feature will only be available for Google Workspace customers and G Suite Basic/Business customers.

 

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0.5
Businesses now need a vaccine to cure hybrid working

Now that the vaccine is starting to take hold and restrictions are being gently lifted, the majority of businesses returning to the office are adopting a hybrid working model. Numerous household names have declared support for more flexible working patterns, with many pledging to reduce their office space. Big tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed employees to work from the location of their choice. While telecommunications company, BT, has reduced office footprint from 300 to 30 offices. What is clear is the way industries and businesses operate has changed indefinitely - and some organizations would claim for the better - as a result of changing working models. Though, juggling a hybrid workforce will present a new set of challenges and preserving the benefits of remote working as offices reopen - without institutionalizing the downside of virtual models - is the question facing many business leaders. However, a number of different technologies around automation, data and many other areas are there to support the transition to hybrid working. When looking at the technologies which will enable remote working, many businesses are turning to automation to lighten employees’ workloads. However, automation has long been accused of affecting industries, eliminating jobs, and – yet – is also responsible for creating tremendous value, earning a dual reputation as both a villain and savior. Despite these concerns, many organizations have asserted that automation has boosted productivity and efficiency over the coronavirus pandemic. But many individuals still feel increasingly uneasy over a changing work environment. Over 40% of those surveyed are anxious about automation potentially impacting their role and 43% shared concerns over being monitored by their employers when working remotely. However, the notion that machines will take over most facets of work as a result of automation is misplaced. A 2020 report by The World Economic Forum forecasted that global AI jobs would see an upsurge, with new vacancies per 10,000 jumping from 78 to 123 by 2022. Automation is not shrinking the human workforce; it is allowing us to do more with the same number of people by not automating jobs, but by instead automating certain skills. When viewed from this angle, automation presents opportunities to process more mundane and time-consuming duties. This will be essential when moving into a hybrid working model. As the technology removes the burden of people having to complete manual tasks, employees when in the office can be empowered to dedicate more time to customer service or employee development through training. Business should embrace automation as a technology, to boost productivity and allow human resources to be spent elsewhere. However, organization have a duty to lead the way with strong change management programs and investing in upskilling and reskilling. Underpinning automation is the successful implementation of an effective data strategy. Data informs automation and has the ability to measure almost anything - as a result, countless businesses have been relentless in their pursuit of a data-driven approach. Data has also been integral to organizations' successful pivot to fully remote working. In unprecedented times data offered clarity by giving leaders crucial insight, highlighting customer gaps that needed closing and directed IT in delivering solutions that greatly improved employee experience and maintained productivity. In a 2020 IDC report, many companies emphasized the significant role investment in data management and analytics played in driving revenue, customer satisfaction, loyalty and even employee retention. With digital adoption taking a quantum leap at organizational and industry levels, the role data occupies has no doubt increased. Having said that, data falls short in capturing the nuances of human behavior or the underlying dynamics that cause a situation to unfold in a certain way. By bringing behavioral analysis alongside a traditional data-driven approach can enable businesses to understand the motivations of customers and the nuances of their behavior. With the correct behavioral analytics tool, employees can gain the actionable insight needed to answer difficult questions. Alongside a traditional data-driven approach, data can be leveraged in ways that are vastly different to only one method. Knowing the intricacies of customers motivations and behavior, displays an understanding that can lead to the formation of stronger affinity consumers have, with the organization being interacted with. We have seen a radical shift in the way we live our day-to-day life – particularly how we interact with each other and customers online – and organizations must react by implementing technologies that can cope with such changes. Those businesses that are combining behavioral analysis with a traditional data-driven approach, better understand the nuances of customer behavior and in turn, improve winning margins and forge stronger customer relationships. Transcending this data-driven viewpoint can help develop a more sophisticated understanding of people’s needs within a given market. As many companies move to a hybrid working model, unaddressed needs will appear from this unprecedented situation. With the right technology in place, decision-makers can help develop innovative technology offerings that are easy to use. Businesses must make these kinds of investments in digital infrastructure to get the most value out of a flexible working model and employees. The challenges that organizations will be presented with are real, but so are the opportunities to supercharge productivity and develop a new level of customer intimacy.

 

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0.3
Many IT decision-makers guilty of keeping cyberattacks secret

Many business leaders are failing to disclose if their business has been affected by a cyberattack or data breach, a new report has found. Research by password manager firm Keeper Security found that more than a third (36%) senior IT leaders kept a cyberattack to themselves, mostly due to the “weight of responsibility”. Even though the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) demands businesses to disclose, as quickly as possible, when they suffer a data breach or cyberattack, many business leaders still decide to sit on this information. Most organizations are aware of the problem, but many aren’t doing much to address it. Some have even relaxed their cybersecurity policies to allow their employees to work remotely, signaling that for many - security has taken a back seat during the lockdown. More than nine in ten (92%) of businesses in the UK suffered a cyberattack in the last 12 months, the report found. As a result, over three-quarters (78%) don’t feel prepared to deal with such a threat, while a third (31%) expect Chief Technology Officers (CTO) to carry this burden alone. CTOs, on the other hand, often make the problem worse, as 32% admitted to using weak credentials. They often use words such as “password” or “admin” for passwords. It is then perhaps unsurprising that Keeper Security found how 58% of IT professionals feel employees at their organizations do not understand the full consequences of poor cyber-hygiene. Even though the UK effectively abandoned the EU after Brexit, GDPR still plays a major role. Organizations that manage data from EU-based citizens still need to be compliant, and the UK’s own data protection policies are synchronized with those of the EU, as well. SMBs that fail to protect their sensitive data could be forced to pay a fine, and would be looking at a ruined brand reputation and brand loyalty. Multiple studies have shown that customers would gladly abandon the company that gets breached and often worry about how the data they share with companies is being used. All these things can have a major negative effect on the bottom line.

 

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Best stock trading platforms in 2021

The best stock trading platforms make it simple and easy to trade, invest, and manage other financial instruments, whether you're at home, in the office, or on the go. High investment minimums and transaction fees were once major barriers to entry for new investors, but the rise of online trading platforms has made investing more accessible than ever. Contemporary investing tools offer affordable trading and a variety of helpful features for both novice and expert traders. In this article, we’ll take a look at five of the best stock trading platforms for investors to consider. While each one provides unique pros and cons compared to the others, you can’t go wrong with any of these services. M1 Finance is one of the most popular online investment platforms, and it’s easy to see why so many users prefer it over more traditional options. Along with powerful free investment tools, the platform also has checking accounts, debit cards, loans, and other financial services. You can access M1 Finance through the web client or the mobile app, available for both iOS and Android devices. Regardless of the device you’re using, M1 Finance has a clear, simple design that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Furthermore, most of M1 Finance’s features can be used for free. There are no transaction fees, most accounts can be opened with as little as $100, and the platform even offers fractional shares. That said, retirement accounts do require a minimum initial investment of $500. M1 Finance also provides an optional premium subscription for $125 per year. M1 Plus comes with 1% cashback and 1% APY on checking accounts,1.5% off the typical loan rate, and access to the afternoon trade window for investors. None of these features are necessary to use the service, so you can always start with a free account until you decide whether to upgrade. The M1 Finance investing tool makes things simpler for all investors, regardless of their experience. Portfolios are visualized through a pie chart, and it’s easy to adjust the relative size of each asset. Users can develop their own “pies” using stocks and funds or choose from a variety of pre-built expert pies, including target-date funds and various stock/bond allocations. All things considered, M1 Finance is an excellent option for most investors. Robinhood is the most popular investing app on the App Store, and it can also be downloaded through Google Play or accessed online. While it’s a functional platform for experienced investors, its features are generally designed for people who are relatively new to investing. The service is introducing the ability to invest in fractional shares, which can be extremely convenient for more expensive stocks. Robinhood is currently in early access and should receive a full rollout in the near future. Users can open an account without any investment minimums. Like M1 Finance, Robinhood doesn’t charge fees on buys or sells. Furthermore, the website provides helpful articles on a wide range of basic trading topics. These factors make it one of the most accessible options for people who are just getting started with investing. Robinhood isn’t limited to stocks, ETFs, and options. In contrast to M1 Finance and many other services, Robinhood has decent options for people who want to invest in cryptocurrencies. The platform currently supports the following currencies: However, one of the key downsides of Robinhood compared to other investing platforms is that it doesn’t offer 401(k)s, IRAs, or any other retirement accounts. These accounts provide substantial tax benefits, so they’re often the most cost-effective way for new investors to get started. Furthermore, there’s no support for foreign exchange trading or certain common assets, such as bonds and mutual funds. Unlike M1 Finance and Robinhood, Fidelity is a brick and mortar brokerage firm with more than 100 locations throughout the United States. That said, it still offers highly competitive investing features for online users, and it’s another excellent option for all investors. Fidelity has a generally reasonable fee schedule, with no minimum investment for many account types, including IRAs and brokerage accounts. It also offers support for fractional shares and a wide range of assets, such as stocks and bonds, mutual funds, CDs, ETFs, and forex. Unfortunately, Fidelity doesn’t enable users to invest in cryptocurrencies. Market research is one of the main benefits of Fidelity, compared to platforms that focus on providing a simple investment platform. Along with collecting news from a variety of sources, Fidelity also offers deep research tools for several asset types. Although Fidelity doesn’t specifically target newer investors like Robinhood, its interface is still clear enough for any trader to learn quickly. Both the website and mobile app do an excellent job of simplifying a wide range of tools and options into a relatively simple design. Furthermore, while Fidelity is a perfectly functional option for online users, you can get even more benefits if you live near a physical location. It’s easy to set up an appointment for financial advising or a variety of other services, and Fidelity runs a wide range of seminars and other educational events for investors. That said, you can also learn the basics of investing through the FAQs located on the website. Ally is an online bank with numerous financial services, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and loans. Ally Invest offers accessible investing tools with self-directed and managed accounts available for both novice and experienced traders. The bank’s investment platform supports many common asset types, including commission-free stocks, ETFs, and options, as well as bonds and mutual funds. It’s also compatible with several retirement accounts, such as Traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs. Unlike M1 Finance and Robinhood, Ally Invest provides full support for forex trading 24 hours a day on weekdays. Along with its deep selection of assets, this feature makes Ally Invest substantially more flexible than many other online stock trading platforms. Managed portfolio users can quickly find the perfect portfolio for them based on their unique financial goals and risk tolerance. Similarly, Ally Invest offers powerful market research features to help traders make the right choices and identify smart investments. It’s easy to find past performance, company data, and other critical information before making any investment decisions. Managed portfolios are charged an annual advisory fee of 0.3%, and the minimum balance is $100. E*Trade is an established online stock platform that’s designed to help new investors get started and make the right decisions. There are no fees on buying or selling stocks, and users can start investing without any account minimums. While E*Trade doesn’t support crypto or forex trading, it still has a decent selection of assets, including stocks, futures, options, and ETFs. E*Trade offers professionally managed accounts called Core Portfolios. These require a minimum deposit of at least $500. Like Ally Invest managed portfolios, Core Portfolios give investors the opportunity to customize their investments depending on their financial priorities. They also come with an identical advisory fee of 0.3% per year. Furthermore, E*Trade provides excellent resources for novice investors, including a deep Knowledge section that covers everything from trading basics to planning for taxes. Even if you want to manage your own account, you can still get investment advice by contacting E*Trade directly. With competitive pricing, a varied selection of assets, and educational tools for new traders, E*Trade is the perfect way to start investing. That said, users interested in crypto or forex trading will need to look elsewhere.

 

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0.1
Switch OLED, OnePlus Nord 2, & Sony Xperia 1 III impressions| Fast Charge 73

We're veering away from phones for a hot minute to talk about Nintendo's divisive new Switch update, but don't worry: we've got loads of OnePlus news this week too, and Toddy's impressions of the Sony Xperia 1 III. The Nintendo Switch (OLED model), to give it its clunky full name, has already frustrated fans hoping for a 4K-capable Pro model, as it's so similar to the original Switch - not that that's stopped a rush to pre-order it, of course. But is this just Nintendo sticking to its strengths - and what about rumours that the Pro model is still on the way anyway?

 

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The best Android launchers for enhanced efficiency

The Google Play Store has plenty of commendable launcher options to consider, and figuring out which makes the most sense for you ultimately comes down to deciding what exactly you want to accomplish and what style of interaction you prefer. After spending time with all the top contenders, these are the Android launchers I'd recommend for serious professionals — broken down by what type of experience they offer and in what areas they excel. Google's Pixel phones are known for their standout software — and while Google itself no longer offers its home screen framework to non-Pixel owners, a team of third-party developers has stepped in to fill that void. The Lawnchair launcher (say it out loud to get the joke) emulates the Pixel Launcher's clean, simple, and visually pleasing foundation — but it doesn't stop there: The app takes things a step further and offers all sorts of powerful possibilities the Pixel Launcher does not, including options to customize and control practically every facet of the home screen experience. And if you do decide you want to take advantage of its more advanced options, you can do things like create a tabbed app drawer to separate your work and personal apps and implement an enhanced search system that'll let you look through your contacts, calendar, and apps as well as search the web from a single streamlined spot. Lawnchair brings a clean and simple Pixel-like interface to any home screen with lots of interesting extras — like the custom tabbed app drawer seen at right. Lawnchair is completely free to use — and while you may notice that the app hasn't been updated in some time (as of this writing), it still works admirably and without any issues. And a new major update is in the works and expected to be released soon. Sometimes, the simplest solutions can be the most effective. That's the idea behind Niagara Launcher, which works to strip away all the extraneous elements of an Android home screen and leave you only with fast and fuss-free tools to get where you need to go. From the simple vertical app menu (at left) to the supercharged folders (at right), Niagara's home screen is all about simplicity and easy access to the items you need. The top of the home screen, meanwhile, features a classy built-in info widget that can show you the current weather along with upcoming event info and even your phone's current battery level. Tapping it pulls up a pop-up agenda panel with an even broader view of your agenda. When you want to find an app that isn't on your home screen, you simply slide your finger up or down along the edge of your screen to move through Niagara's scrolling app list and jump to whatever it is you need. In a nice ergonomic twist, you can swipe or tap the list from the left or the right side of your screen, even, making it convenient to access no matter how you hold your phone. Niagara has lots of other thoughtful efficiency-oriented features, including an option to show active notifications alongside an app's icon on your home screen — even going as far as to let you interact with notifications and respond to messages or dismiss pending alerts right from that same area — along with a smart search system that's easily accessible with a single swipe upward anywhere on your home screen. Niagara Launcher is free with an optional $6-a-year or $15 lifetime Pro upgrade that unlocks some of its more advanced options, including the built-in calendar and weather widgets. If you like the idea of effortless organization but prefer a more traditional grid-based home screen arrangement, Smart Launcher 5 is an interesting option to consider. Smart Launcher works to organize and optimize your home screen setup for you — continually — without any real thought or effort required on your part. But it does so within a more familiar-looking Android home screen environment. Looks aside, this setup most certainly isn't conventional. Rather than giving you a completely open canvas for whatever placement of shortcuts and widgets you want, for instance, Smart Launcher keeps your icons neatly arranged into locked-down rows on its main screen. Swiping up on that area reveals a dynamically categorized app drawer of sorts, which separates all of your apps into automatically sorted categories like "Internet," "Communication," and "Media." Smart Launcher features a self-organizing home screen (at left) and a category-based system for browsing all of your apps (at right). Smart Launcher 5 is free with an optional $2.50-a-year, $7-a-month, or $17 lifetime Pro upgrade for a variety of advanced features. Android is typically a Google-centric affair, but little by little, Microsoft has been creating its own sub-ecosystem right within the platform's walls — and the centerpiece to that setup is the aptly named Microsoft Launcher. Microsoft Launcher puts Bing front and center and adds plenty of other Microsoft-centric touches to your home screen environment. Microsoft-specific elements aside, the Microsoft Launcher is also just a nicely crafted take on the Android home screen interface, with a pleasant mix of tidy-looking simplicity and more advanced organizational options. The app is completely free to use. For all of its Microsoft focus, the actual Microsoft Launcher has nothing to do with the company's now-abandoned Windows Phone effort and the content-packed organizational system that platform established. For that, you'll want to turn to Square Home, which picks up where Windows Phone left off and brings its distinctive tile-centric setup into the realm of Android. Even if you didn't use Windows Phone, you might find Square Home to be a refreshing change that enhances your workflow. The launcher puts a series of customizable tiles on your home screen, each representing an app shortcut, a widget, or some other sort of action. You can even treat a tile as a three-dimensional cube and store related shortcuts on each side — say, Google Drive on the front, then Docs, Sheets, and other productivity apps on the inner sides — and then swipe the cube in any direction to access the associated items. Square Home has tons of options, including some that let you control exactly how your tiles appear — everything from the number of columns for the tiles to the size of icons and text within them and the color and style of backgrounds used for different blocks. It also allows you to create some potentially useful custom shortcuts beyond just the usual gestures. You can set certain actions to occur when your phone is set flat with its screen facing either up or down, for instance, or even when you shake your phone. Square Home transforms your home screen into a Windows-Phone-like environment, with plenty of advanced shortcuts and time-saving options. Square Home is free with an optional $5 key for advanced features, options, and tile effects. Feel like you're spending too much time on your phone? Before Launcher is all about giving you a minimalist, no-frills home screen for distraction-free productivity — a setup its creators claim can help you open your phone a whopping 40% less than you do now. From the plain-text primary home screen to the built-in notification filtering system, less really is more with the understated Before Launcher. Before has some simple options for customizing the appearance of your home screen, but it's all pretty barebones and basic by design. The launcher also offers an optional $6 Pro upgrade that adds in a handful of more advanced features, including a custom folder and label system for apps and the ability to hide apps entirely out of view. From minimalism to maximalism, the last launcher in our list is a longtime Android power-user favorite that provides you with every option under the sun. Nova Launcher starts you off with a simple blank slate and lets you set things up in any way you want, down to the tiniest of details. It's no exaggeration: Once you add whatever series of shortcuts, folders, and widgets you like to your home screen panels, you can peruse Nova's settings to find intricate customizations for almost anything imaginable — ranging from the precise size of the font used for app names to the amount of padding between items, the level of transparency of the app drawer background, and even the style and speed of every animation and transition you see. Beyond just the customization stuff, Nova has some seriously powerful possibilities for optimizing your home screen to any set of specifications. You can create a custom dark theme that makes various areas of your home screen easier on the eyes as soon as the sun goes down, you can create a variety of custom gestures for quickly accessing any apps or actions you need, and you can add in helpful shortcuts like one-tap commands for tasks like uninstalling or restarting apps on demand. Nova Launcher's extensive series of options gives you an extraordinary amount of freedom to make your home screen look and work exactly how you want. Nova Launcher is free with an optional $5 upgrade for certain advanced features.

 

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0.6
King Legacy codes: How to get free Beli and Gems [July 2021]

King Legacy codes dish out some of the game’s most important items for absolutely nothing in return. These free gifts help take the tedium out of playing King Legacy and let you focus on becoming King of the pirates! If you landed here looking for King Piece codes, King Legacy is the same game under a different name. The change happened to avoid copyright problems with the characters the game “borrows” from the anime and manga series, One Piece. The code list updates almost every month or during game events when the developer issues new codes. Like with a lot of free-to-play games, and Roblox games in particular, it’s worth checking regularly to see what new King Legacy codes have dropped. Watch on YouTube What are King Legacy codes How to redeem King Legacy codes All active King Legacy codes King Legacy expired codes King Legacy codes usually give you free Beli or Gems, though on occasion, a code will drop that gives you stat resets. Stat resets are especially handy since you can re-create your character without paying for it. However, Beli and Gems are always appreciated. Beli is difficult to come by in significant quantities when you first start out, though it’s necessary for buying power-up items such as Devil Fruits and even new Fighting Styles. Gems give you stronger Devil Fruits, so of course, they’re not given out in large numbers. Launch the game and tap the menu icon in the upper right corner. Choose the codes option, then just enter your code and redeem it. These are all the active King Legacy codes for July 2021. This list includes expired King Legacy codes. If you try entering a code, and it doesn’t work, it’s probably one of the expired codes on this list. We’ve got plenty of other Roblox codes aside from King Legacy, codes for if you want to sail the seas in Blox Fruits, or protect your castle in All Star Tower Defense. If you’re looking for a quieter change of pace, though, check out our Adopt Me! pets list and how to get each pet.

 

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Best turntables 2021: the best record players for any budget

The best turntables of 2021 are different to the clunky old record player that you might currently have up in your attic gathering dust. We've spent years reviewing the newest and best record players that you can buy right now – and we’re happy to report these are all incredibly versatile and modern devices, coming in a range of styles to suit all homes and budgets. So, whether you prefer the classic, retro look of record players from the past or your tastes are thoroughly modern, there’s something here to suit you. Many of these turntables also come packed with new features that you'd never find on old record players, such as Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports that allow you to record your vinyl to your computer. So, if you’re a music lover and can’t get enough of the warm sound of vinyl, investing in one of the top turntables from this list is a no-brainer – they’re a must-have for your at-home audio setup. If you’re new to the world of record collecting, be sure to check out our guide on how to set up a turntable, which will get you up and running (or spinning, if you prefer) with your new record player in no time. Dust off your record collection and get ready to listen to your favorite tunes with the very best turntables of 2021. Navigating the market for the best record players can confusing. But there are some key details you need to consider when choosing the best record player for your listening needs and budget. On of the most vital components to look for when you’re shopping for the best record player for you, is how well damped it is. Damping is essentially the method by which manufacturers combat vibrations – whether internal or external. They do this through the use of different motor configurations, and through the use of various components. Belt-driven turntables are going to be a lot quieter and offer higher fidelity than their direct drive brethren, as direct drive turntables have a motor that is directly connected to the platter. However, there are some great direct drive turntables out there, so don’t write them off quite yet. If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t need to be fooling around with a complex turntable with an adjustable vertical tracking angle, anti-skate and azimuth. You may even want a turntable that connects to your speaker wirelessly over Bluetooth. Do you want to rip your vinyl to your digital library? If so, look for a turntable with a USB output and reliable software to get the job done. Budget and style are important considerations, too. Turntables can cost anything from $50 / £50 to well over $2,000 / £2,000, it's a good idea to have a price in mind before you start your search. Think about how your new record player will fit into your home, as well. Do you have the space for an external amplifier? If not, look for a turntable with a built-in preamp. Want to be entertained in the inimitable vinyl manner, and be sure you’re not missing a scrap of information at the same time? You’ll want to turn your ears in Pro-Ject’s direction, then. Pro-Ject introduced its first Debut record player at the end of the last century, and it’s been refined, upgraded, and become increasingly expensive ever since. This Debut Carbon Evo is the most refined and upgraded model so far – and it’s also the most expensive. But don't let that put you off. This is undoubtably one of the best turntables you can buy today, offering a detailed and revealing listen, with the ability to focus on the minutiae even as it describes the complete picture very convincingly. Read more: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo review At first glance, the AT-LP120XBT-USB looks the part – it owes more than a little to the legendary Technics SL1200/SL1210 where aesthetics are concerned. But as well as all the DJ bits and bobs (like pitch control and super-responsive direct drive motor), this Audio-Technica turntable has an integrated, switchable phono stage, a USB output and wireless aptX Bluetooth connectivity. All of which makes it a fair bit more adaptable than your average record player. It’s very nearly a plug’n’play arrangement, making it perfect for beginners. All you need to do when it first comes out of the box is put the aluminum platter on, fix the cartridge to the tonearm and the hinges to the dust-cover, and you’re good to go. Read more: Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB review The Fluance RT81 is an excellent starter turntable. It’s simple to set up and use for newbies but you can switch out the cartridge to squeeze out more performance later on. Newbies also won’t have to worry about getting a separate phono preamp, as one is built in. However, you can turn it off if you want to use a better external preamp. The only downside is that Fluance’s advertised “auto-off” feature simply turns off the platter, preventing excessive needle wear but you’ll still have to return the arm to its resting place yourself. You’ll also have to manually queue records, which isn’t a deal breaker by any means but is something to consider for those looking for a fully automatic record player. The Denon DP-300F is a great choice for those looking for a fully automated record listening experience. Read more: Fluance RT81 review The Denon DP-300F is a gorgeous turntable that sounds just as good as it looks. The included DSN-85 cartridge isn’t the most accurate but it nevertheless manages to make your music sound airy and reasonably detailed, especially for it’s price. You’ll need to spend a lot more cash to hear more detail. While the DP-300F lacks the USB outputs of some of the best turntables listed here, it’s still a great starting turntable for anyone who doesn’t want to manually queue their albums or have a habit of falling asleep while listening to music. The Denon’s automatic start/stop feature means your needle won’t be worn down at the end of the record as the arm immediately returns when an album is done. Build quality is decent for an all-plastic record player, but its buttons feel cheap – a minor problem but shouldn't be a deal-breaker for you. If the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB doesn’t fit your aesthetic, consider the Denon DP-300F instead. Read more: Denon DP-300F review With a budget-friendly price, easy assembly, and the convenience of wireless playback, the AT-LP60XBT could make a fantastic first turntable for any fledgling vinyl enthusiast. While the plinth does feel somewhat insubstantial, and the sound might not be detailed enough for some, it's brilliant price more than makes up for that – and the inclusion of Bluetooth connectivity makes the AT-LP6XBT record player feel like very good value for money. Audio-Technica is known for producing high quality cartridges, and the one used on this record player is no exception; the ATN3600L conical stylus fits perfectly into the grooves of the record and reveals details in songs you may have never noticed before – in short, it makes your music an absolute joy to listen to. Read more: Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT turntable review The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is still one of the best entry-level hi-fi turntables you can buy, even though it has been usurped by the record player at the top of this list. While vinyl newcomers may cringe at the price, the Debut Carbon is really an incredible bargain. For the money, you get an very well made deck that’s damped properly for fantastic sound quality. The carbon fiber tonearm is lightweight and stiff, and is usually reserved for turntables costing much more. The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is for the budding enthusiast that’s committed to the record collecting hobby and because of that commitment, it doesn’t feature niceties like an auto-returning tonearm, buttons for changing speed or an included phono preamp. Newbies may be turned off by the manual changing of the belt position to change speeds and the lack of an included preamp. However, if you want to extract more detail and resolution from your records than the cheaper options on this list, or if you want to get started on the path of being a true vinyl collector, the Debut Carbon is probably your best bet. Like the Pro-Ject Debut III, but want a subtler look? Check out the Crosley C10, which features a chic wooden-look plinth combined with a Pro-Ject tonearm. Read more: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon review There’s a lot of debate whether the Rega Planar 1 or the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is the best entry-level hi-fi turntable. It’s a close match and there are no clear winners, each providing an excellent starting place for audiophiles on a budget. While the Rega may lack the fancy carbon tone arm of the Pro-Ject, the Planar 1 still sounds excellent and is well damped with its phenolic resin platter. And for newbies, the Rega Planar 1 is still easy to setup, though you’ll have to provide your own phono preamp. Ultimately, the Rega Planar 1 record player just sounds so good that it’s hard to fault it too much. Vocals are revealing and you can hear the texture from instruments like the violin. The included Rega Carbon cartridge isn’t anything special but manages to be a great match for the turntable. It’s a tough choice between the Planar 1 and the Debut Carbon but you can’t go wrong with either. The Marantz TT-15S1 costs a serious bit of change, but you’re actually getting a killer bargain. The Clearaudio Virtuoso included with the turntable is $1000 when purchased separately. Additionally, you get a killer tonearm and gorgeous turntable at a price that’s definitely an investment, but not unreasonable. So what does the Marantz TT-15S1 get you over the competition? Attention to detail. Just about every part of the record player has been poured over to be the best it can be for the price. The fit and finish are excellent and it’s a pleasure to handle the high-quality components. This is a record player that'll leave you admiring its visual and audible qualities. Newbies should not get this turntable as it requires more knowledge to set up properly than the entry-level turntables on this list. But if you’re ready to take your record collecting and listening to the next level, the Marantz TT-15S1 is the perfect place to start. Read more: Marantz TT-15S1 review If the Clearaudio Concept and Marantz TT-15S1 seem familiar, that’s because the Marantz was built by Clearaudio to Marantz’s specifications. This means everything about the excellent build quality of the Marantz carries over to the Clearaudio Concept (i.e. this is a turntable that is as gorgeous as it sounds). One small but notable difference between the Marantz and the Clearaudio turntables is the ability to play 78 rpm records. While most people will never come across 78s, it’s nice to know that the Clearaudio Concept is capable of playing them. The Concept also has a handy speed dial on the plinth, meaning you don’t have to swap the belt position manually. As for negatives, the Clearaudio Concept has no notable flaws. Yes, it’s expensive but you’re still getting a bargain in this price range. The included Clearaudio Concept moving-coil cartridge costs $1,000 by itself. Yep! Read more: Clearaudio Concept review $1,700 / £1,500 (around AU$2,750) for a record player is expensive no matter the brand, and it’s Cambridge’s most expensive-ever turntable by a mile. But it’s uniquely specified, and intends to deliver all the many and various advantages of the vinyl format with very few of the compromises. The fact it’s able to stream wirelessly to a 24bit/48kHz aptX HD standard makes it number one in a field of one. No other record player from any better-established brand in this sort of market – Rega, for instance, or Clearaudio – is able to come close to this level of convenience. Cambridge Audio doesn't just make record players, either. Did you know the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 are on our round up of the best true wireless earbuds of 2021? Read more: Cambridge Audio Alva TT review Meet the budget-friendly Technics SL-1500C that will only set you back £899 / $999 / AU$2499. It's still not the most affordable turntable on the market, but it's first the reborn Technics has so far delivered really remind listeners of what they loved about the brand in the first place. Sound-staging is impressive, with recordings given plenty of elbow-room for individual instruments to make their presence felt. There’s depth and height to the Technics’ stage, as well as width, but despite all this breathing-room there’s no lack of unity to the sound the SL-1500C record player delivers. Read more: Technics SL-1500C Turntable review

 

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Get 'Networking For Dummies,12th Edition' ($18.00 value) for FREE

Fully revised to cover Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019, this new edition of the trusted Networking For Dummies helps both beginning network administrators and home users to set up and maintain a network. Updated coverage of broadband and wireless technologies, as well as storage and back-up procedures, ensures that you’ll learn how to build a wired or wireless network, secure and optimize it, troubleshoot problems, and much more. From connecting to the Internet and setting up a wireless network to solving networking problems and backing up your data -- this #1 bestselling guide covers it all. Written by a seasoned technology author -- and jam-packed with tons of helpful step-by-step instructions -- this is the book network administrators and everyday computer users will turn to again and again. Networking For Dummies, from Wiley, usually retails for $18, but BetaNews readers can get it entirely free for a limited time. All you have to do to get your copy for free is go here, enter the required details, and click the Download button. The offer expires on July 21, so act fast.

 

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0.4
ColorOS 11.3 on the OPPO Reno 6 series will include several new features

OPPO unveiled the new Reno 6 series in China earlier in May. The series consisted of three phones: the Reno 6, Reno Pro, and Reno 6 Pro+. Now, the company is gearing up to bring at least two phones from the lineup to India. OPPO confirmed today it would launch the regular Reno 6 and Reno 6 Pro in India on July 14. Both models will be offered in two distinct colorways: Aurora and Stellar Black, and will feature an Anti Glare (AG) glass back and metal frame. Similar to the Chinese models, the Reno 6 and Reno 6 Pro will come running ColorOS 11.3, the latest iteration of OPPO’s custom skin. While not a massive upgrade, ColorOS 11.3 brings along several enhancements aimed at improving the gaming experience and overall performance. This includes the new Game Focus mode, Quick Startup, Hyperboost 4.1, and the RAM expansion feature. In terms of specifications, the Reno 6 and 6 Pro aren’t expected to differ too much from the Chinese models. That means we can expect the vanilla Reno 6 to sport a 6.43-inch AMOLED 90Hz display, MediaTek Diemensity 900 SoC, triple rear cameras featuring the 64MP primary shooter, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a 4,300mAh battery with 65W fast charging support. The Reno 6 Pro, on the other hand, will pack a slightly bigger 6.55-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz screen refresh rate. It will be powered by MediaTek’s flagship Dimensity 1200 SoC, paired with 8GB/12GB RAM and 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 flash storage. On the back, the Reno 6 Pro will sport a 64MP primary shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide cam, and two 2MP depth and macro sensors. It will also pack a bigger 4,500mAh battery and support 65W fast charging. The only bits that remain unknown at this stage are pricing and availability. But with the official launch taking place just next week, we won’t have to wait long to find that out.

 

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These are the Best Galaxy Buds Live Cases: Supcase, Spigen, Elago, and more!

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live was Samsung’s first pair of TWS or ‘truly wireless earphones’ that came with Active Noise Cancellation, commonly known as ANC. It was succeeded by the Galaxy Buds Pro which is one of the best TWS earphones around. While the Galaxy Buds Live is already a generation old, it’s still quite popular as it has become more affordable thanks to the launch of its successor. The Galaxy Buds Live is a good pair of TWS earphones you can still buy if you manage to crack a good deal. If you’re not a fan of the in-ear type design the Galaxy Buds Pro or other popular TWS earphones have, the Galaxy Buds Live is a good option. If you’ve got a pair already or are planning to get them soon, here are some of the best Galaxy Buds Live cases you can get to protect the case from scratches and drops. Since the external case of the Galaxy Buds Live, or any other pair of TWS earphones for that matter, is made up of plastic, it can accumulate a lot of scratches with everyday use and can be quite fragile if you drop it on hard surfaces. So it’s advisable to use a case to protect it to increase its longevity, so you can continue using the earphones for a long time. If you’re looking for a new smartphone to use along with the Galaxy Buds Live, we have a list of the best smartphones to buy or if you’re specifically looking for a Samsung phone, we also have a list of the best Samsung phones you can buy across various price points. These are our picks for some of the best Galaxy Buds Live cases you can get to protect your earphones. TWS earphones aren’t cheap and when you’re spending upwards of $100 on a pair of earphones, it’s always wise to spend a little extra for added protection. The Supcase Unicorn Beetle is a great option if you want the best protection while the Spigen Ultra Hybrid is a good clear case. The VRS design Sandstone case adds a little bit of elegance while the Elago GB5 case adds an element of fun. Pick the one that’s best suited for your needs.

 

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0.5
Yandex Robots to Make Grubhub Deliveries on College Campuses

Step away from the ramen: Yandex and Grubhub are teaming up to bring robot food delivery to US college campuses. Dozens of autonomous rovers will perform last-mile drop offs to select universities this fall, navigating sidewalks, pedestrian areas, and crosswalks in areas not easily accessible by car. "Together with Yandex, we're changing the way college students experience food delivery," Brian Madigan, VP of corporate and campus partners at Grubhub, said in a statement, citing cost-effective and scalable capabilities in an effort to " adapt to students' unique dining needs ." Hungry students can place an online order, wait for the bot to arrive, and open a hatch in the rover via the Grubhub app. Grab your food, close the door, and wave as the android rolls away to its next location. Built with the same self-driving technology as Yandex's autonomous vehicles, the bots—operating commercially in Russia since late 2020—run day and night, in "moderate" snowfall and rain, and on regulated and unregulated crosswalks. Yandex rovers have also been delivering orders from local restaurants in Ann Arbor, Mich., for the last three months. Grubhub campus dining offers contact-free delivery, and students enrolled at participating schools may claim a gratis Grubhub+ membership. The Just Eat-owned food ordering platform partnered with Lyft last year to provide unlimited free restaurant drop offs to Lyft Pink members.

 

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0.7
Panasonic sets up a new business solutions arm

Electronics giant Panasonic is launching a new solutions-focused organization, Panasonic Connect Europe, to address the changing technology needs of European businesses. The new business will offer diverse B2B technology solutions, alongside an enhanced services capability, to help customers maintain mission critical operations and organizations transform their business operations. It will pull together Panasonic's B2B product portfolio -- ranging from manufacturing machines and software to ruggedized mobile computing solutions, and its broadcast and media entertainment portfolio -- as well as enhanced consulting, systems integration, project management and application software development skills. "Panasonic Connect Europe will form a new and agile organization able to respond quickly to the demands of the various industries across the manufacturing, logistics, retail, entertainment, education and public sector," says Hiroyuki Nishiuma, current MD of Panasonic System Communications Company Europe (PSCEU), who will be the MD of the new organization. "We look forward to combining our product expertise with our enhanced solutions capability to help businesses transform their operations for the future." Headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, the business will consist of a mobile solutions division helping mobile workers improve productivity with Toughbook rugged notebooks, business tablets and handhelds. A media entertainment division will offer a range of projectors as well as high quality displays and AV production solutions. Business and industry solutions will focus on retail, logistics and manufacturing, and finally Panasonic factory solutions will sell a wide range of smart factory solutions including electronics manufacturing solutions, robot and welding systems and software solutions engineering. Image credit: lucianmilasan / depositphotos.com

 

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Download: MIUI 12.5 Closed Beta for Xiaomi and Redmi devices [Update: July 7 builds]

The latest version of Xiaomi’s custom Android skin – MIUI 12.5 – is finally here. The first incremental update over MIUI 12 has been unveiled at the Mi 11 launch event in China. Compared to MIUI 12, the stable version of which was released less than six months ago, MIUI 12.5 brings in a slew of improvements, visual overhauls, and a handful of new features. We have already extracted the new live wallpapers, and now we are presenting the downloading links of the first set of MIUI 12.5 beta firmware packages for a bunch of Xiaomi, Redmi, and POCO devices. It is worth mentioning that these closed beta builds are meant for the Chinese variants, as Xiaomi suspended the rollout of MIUI global beta last year. As a consequence, you have to flash these recovery ROMs using TWRP to bypass the MIUI beta account whitelisting. Do not expect Google Play Services or any pre-installed Google apps in them. Language options are likely limited to English and Chinese only, too. Xiaomi has yet to launch MIUI 12.5 globally. Meanwhile, you can try out the closed betas from China. The beta MIUI 12.5 builds listed below are based on either Android 10 or Android 11, depending on the device. If you are looking for MIUI 12 stable releases, you can find those here. You can download the latest beta of MIUI 12.5 for your device from the links below. You can also visit our linked forums in case you need further assistance. While all of these download links are directly from Xiaomi, users are advised to proceed at their own risk. We warn you once again, this is not intended for the average consumer and is recommended only for users comfortable with flashing ROMs. Links for the previous beta builds of MIUI 12.5 are preserved as well: The full changelog for MIUI 12.5 beta, when updating from MIUI 12, is as follows: Thanks to XDA Recognized Developer yshalsager and XDA Member kacskrz for providing these download links!

 

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0.5
Silent Hill and Siren devs on their return to horror

Bokeh's new project slowly comes into focus. When Keiichiro Toyama, Kazunobu Sato, and Junya Okura announced Bokeh Game Studio last year, heads turned immediately in their direction. Here were three veterans of PlayStation Japan, responsible for developing Silent Hill, Siren, The Last Guardian, and Gravity Rush, to name but a few projects spearheaded by the trio, striding out on their own as newfound independent creators. Bokeh Game Studio is preceded by its reputation. You don't get the creative director of Silent Hill, producer of The Last Guardian, and game director of Siren founding a new studio without questions and speculation immediately swirling. One obvious question lay outside the studio itself: why had all three experienced developers decided in unison to depart Sony Japan? "We were conscious about being independent at the beginning of last year, which is actually before COVID," explains Bokeh Game Studio co-founder Junya Okura. There were "organisational changes" within Sony says Okura - PlayStation's Japan Studio was effectively wound down earlier this year - and this coupled with Toyama approaching Sato and Okura with the idea of going independent practically sealed the deal for the trio. However, Toyama is swift to mention it "wasn't just a sudden move," for the group. The Silent Hill creator was thinking about going independent ever since The Last Guardian director Fumito Ueda departed Sony to establish Gen Design in 2014, so Bokeh Game Studio is a move that's been just over six years in the making for Toyama. Alongside the announcement of Bokeh Game Studio came the news that Toyama, Sato, and Okura were collaborating on a horror game. The trio proclaimed that they'd be returning to the genre that helped establish their respective careers, as horror is something that Okura feels the group share, and have "deep roots" in from their time working at Sony. Okura also highlights the return to horror as being familiar for players who have experienced the group's past games, hoping they'll see plenty of returning Silent Hill and Siren players among Bokeh's newfound fans. Toyama adds that he was actually thinking about horror while developing Gravity Rush over the last few years, and the "departure" from the horror genre with Gravity Rush allowed himself and Okura to "stock up on ideas." However, Toyama is mindful of the fact he's returning to a genre that's given rise to new voices since the last time he was in the space. "I think it's a good way for indie developers to come through, and it's a great opportunity for young people to come in and emerge as new talents," he says of the dominance of indie developers in the horror genre. The veteran horror developer adds that he's particularly excited to see what virtual reality brings to the horror genre in future, as the two have a "great chemistry." As for Bokeh's debut game itself though, it's still a while before we'll actually see anything of the project. Producer Kazunobu Sato tells me that the studio has been working on a prototype of the game since the beginning of 2021, for roughly six months now, but they're taking more time to "solidify" the prototype and get all the core mechanics down. We might have seen motion capture taking place for the game earlier this year in the video below, but Bokeh's new horror venture is still firmly in the prototype phase. "There are a lot of areas in the prototype that we need to touch up," director Toyama adds, saying that he feels there's a "core experience" in the prototype which he hasn't seen in other games of late. When I asked him about what that core experience actually is, the veteran director only said that you "can't just put it down to describing it as a horror experience," as there are also "action and speedy" elements that the developers want to express through the new game. Those familiar with Toyama's body of work will no doubt know his penchant for writing horror narratives. Okura explains to me that this will very much still be the case with Bokeh's new game, and although Toyama is solely in charge of the game's narrative, there's the strong possibility that the development team will collaborate with a storyteller or narrative designer at some point in the future. Right now though, the entire team is geared up for Toyama to take the reins in the narrative department. "It won't be just a simple story that branches out, as you can see in many games recently," Toyama adds. The creative director says that although it might be a challenge for the development team, they "want to create a new experience with narrative," in terms of how the gameplay and story are directly linked together. This is actually what the development team are working on right now, trying to establish how the narrative and gameplay of Bokeh's debut venture will coalesce. If the allusion to collaborating with other creatives sounds familiar, that's because Toyama has teased the prospect before. Earlier this year, the director said Bokeh would be collaborating with a "famous creative" on the new game, and when I followed up about this tease, Toyama said he couldn't provide me with a name. What he could say, however, was that this collaboration actually wasn't with one person, but with a whole group of people, none of whom are game designers, level designers, or story writers. Instead, they'll collaborate with Bokeh in the art department, and they're actually all people that Toyama has specifically worked with before in his illustrious career. If it's monsters that these creatives could be collaborating with, they've got their work cut out. Toyama tells me that Miki Takahashi, an artist who collaborated with Toyama and Okura previously on Siren (and also worked on Knack, of all things), is in charge of the monster design for Bokeh's new game, a fascinating prospect considering Takahashi's terrifying body of work. "We're working towards a theme which is both horrific yet aesthetically beautiful," Toyama adds, saying that the fusion of these two aspects is really something that Bokeh is striving for. I couldn't help wondering how Kazunobu Sato's experience as a producer on The Last Guardian, a game which bore a long and tormented development cycle, was being put to use on Bokeh's new game. However, although Sato points out that he was only a producer on The Last Guardian for the final three years of development before the game launched in 2016, he points to changing hardware during the development process being something that the development team of The Last Guardian ultimately had no control over. "In terms of our new project, it's good that we can judge all of that for ourselves," he adds. "So please feel comfortable that our new game is not going to last for that long." Finally, I had to ask one question that's been on the lips of just about half the industry over the last year: what about that Silent Hill revival? "Strictly speaking, I'm not in a position to answer that," says Toyama, when I asked him if he'd heard whispers about a revival of the series he'd helped create. "But from a personal perspective, seeing how in recent years there was P. T., you can see you don't need to necessarily stick to a specific system or style," the creator adds. "As long as the theme of Silent Hill, of how the inner darkness of people were being embodied, continues, I think anything beyond that is free territory to explore."

 

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0.3
Modded 4K Minecraft looks very different

In brief: Despite being the best-selling game of all time with over 200 million units shifted, titles with poor graphics have long been described as “looking like Minecraft.” These days, the addition of mods and ray tracing support have rendered that statement slightly inaccurate; it might still be blocky, but it can be damn pretty. As reported by Kotaku, YouTube channel hodilton posted a video showing off what Minecraft (download the latest version here) looks like after being upgraded through the magic of mods. The ones used in this case are Realistic Textures, Continuum 2.1 (for lighting and shaders), Terra (which builds more realistic worlds), and Physics Mod. The game is visually very different: the lava now looks like lava rather than huge orange and brown pixels. Same with the brickwork, ground, and other surfaces. Foliage sways in the wind, but the most impressive additions are the lighting and water effects. But does it lose some of the charm of the base version? That's up to the player to decide. It's Minecraft, but not as you know it You’ll need more than the usual potato-style PC if you want to run Minecraft with 4K textures and all the other bells and whistles. hodilton is sporting a monstrous i9-10850K @ 5.1ghz, an Nvidia RTX 3090 and 32GB RAM, and even that doesn't manage to stay at 30 fps. Could this start a new meme? Although asking “But can it play modded Minecraft in 4K?” is less catchy than “But can it play Crysis?” hodilton said he wanted to post a video with 8K textures but his 32GB of RAM wasn't enough. In addition to mods, those with a GeForce RTX 20 series and higher can add ray tracing effects and DLSS to Minecraft. Download it here.

 

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Gmail sign in page just made one small, but signficant change

Gmail users may spot a slight difference in how their signing in process is displayed after Google made a minor but potentially very important change to the login page. The company's email service now displays Google Workspace branding when processing a user's login, rather than the Gmail view previously seen. As spotted by 9to5Google, the new splash appears on both personal and paid enterprise Gmail accounts - and also on the Gmail for iOS client following a recent app update. The change is part of the continued transition to Google Workspace across the company's web-based services and tools as it looks to move users to one unified platform. Formerly known as G Suite, Google Workspace brings together all the company's most popular offerings, including Docs, Sheets, Meet, Drive and of course Gmail, into one place. The company said its impetus behind the decision was to create a more “deeply integrated user experience”, by improving the interoperability of its various productivity software for a more fluid feel. Competing directly with the likes of Microsoft 365, Google Workspace has also attempted to place itself firmly at the heart of the new hybrid working world, aiming to offer users a more flexible way to collaborate and be productive together. The company also recently remvoed some of the limits on unpaid accounts, meaning that anyone with a Google account will now have access to the full Google Workspace experience as part of its 'Google Workspace to Everyone' drive. Unlike Microsoft 365, which requires a subscription, Workspace is now available to anyone with a Google account which means that friends, family or groups of any kind can stay connected, work together and share helpful information from a single place. And to make working online simpler, Google also recently revealed a new "smart canvas" approach, which should mean the various apps and services tie together much more seamlessly, hopefully meaning users aren't constantly hunting around for key parts of information. Via 9to5Google

 

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0.6
The Blade Runner anime has an amazing cast, and sounds true to the movie

Crunchyroll has unveiled a star-studded cast for Blade Runner: Black Lotus, a CG anime series based on the movies and set in 2032 – 17 years before the events of Blade Runner 2049. The show will feature Succession 's Brian Cox, Josh Duhamel and The Handmaid's Tale 's Samira Wiley, among others. Not a lot has been said about the story of the show, which takes place after the Blade Runner Black Out 2022 short movie that was released to tie in with Blade Runner 2049, but the cast details give a fair amount away. The show sounds like it features a similar mix of noir and sci-fi, with shady journalists, black market dealers, cops and replicants. It'll comprise 13 episodes in total – so it's a massive undertaking. The series has no release date yet, but it was unveiled last year, so hopefully it won't be too long a wait. A first look at the series – which presumably means a trailer – will be released at the Comic Con@Home 2021. The show's lead is Elle, a female replicant built for a secret reason that she's unaware of – she's played by Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones, Iron Fist) for English-language audiences. Brian Cox plays Niander Wallace Sr, CEO of the Wallace Corporation, which is the main manufacturer of replicants in the era of Blade Runner 2049. That's the father of Jared Leto's character in the movie – who here is voiced by Wes Bentley. So it sounds like a fairly major part of the series' canon. Samira Wiley plays an LAPD officer called Alan Davis, while Josh Duhamel plays a particularly dangerous replicant called Marlowe. Adult Swim will air the show in the US via its Toonami block, while Crunchyroll will stream it globally. Blade Runner: Black Lotus has all the ingredients for a good story set in the universe on paper – hopefully it looks as nice in motion as it does in the screenshot above. While the 1982 Blade Runner movie is arguably sacred ground, there are actually a few additional stories set in that same universe before you even get to Black Lotus. Back in 1997, an acclaimed game based on the movie was released on PC, and featured a concurrently-running storyline with returning actors Sean Young, William Sanderson, James Hong, Joe Turkel and Brion James. Then, of course, Denis Villeneuve made Blade Runner 2049 in 2017 – which disappointed at the box office, but was critically acclaimed for how it reprised themes from the world. Short film Blade Runner 2022: Black Out is another. Two other short movies tied in to 2049, directed by Ridley Scott's son Luke – 2036: Nexus Dawn and 2048: Nowhere To Run. Sure, it's nothing compared to the bloated morass of Star Wars projects, but it clearly shows they're keen to build on the universe glimpsed in the movies.

 

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0.3
D&D Dark Alliance Wulfgar Builds Guide

You can choose from four unique heroes in D&D Dark Alliance, each with their own abilities, feats, and roles within the party. In this Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance guide, we’ll outline everything there is to know about the intimidating barbarian character, Wulfgar and include some great builds for Wulfgar. Wulfgar is a Human Barbarian in Dungeons and Dragons Dark Alliance. He’s mainly useful for heavy armor-breaking strikes. He is very strong and makes the monsters vulnerable to follow-up attacks as well. He can also start a team attack by performing an Empowered strike or Parry. Like the other characters in DnD Dark Alliance, Wulfgar comes with his own set of unique abilities. These abilities can be utilized for conducting some moves when needed. You will get different buffs, effects, and bonuses when a particular ability is activated. You can unlock abilities by spending the Feat Points. The following abilities belong to Wulfgar: Aegis Throw This is an ability that is available from the start. In this, Wulfgar conjures a hammer of magical power and throws it in the forward direction. Primal Instinct This ability is also available from the start and with this Wulfgar gets Armor bonuses and scaling damage depending upon the number of hit points he is missing. Shockwave This ability is unlocked by unlocking the Shockwave Feat. This ability deals damage to all the monsters in the range of the attack and knocks them down. Endurance of the Elk For unlocking this ability first of all you have to unlock the Endurance of the Elk Feat. In this ability, Wulfgar gains strong strikes and gives his allies and himself Frenzy. Now that you have a good idea about the feats and abilities of Wulfgar, let us get to the next most important step, making a build. Setting your stats and attributes best suited to your playstyle and making the best out of all of these requires a lot of attention. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started with Wulfgar builds in D&D Dark Alliance. One of the most limiting factor of Wulfgar is his attack speed and range. Though extremely heavy hitting, Wulfgar lacks range and speed. This build will focus highly on allowing him range options as well as better elemental damage so that Wulfgar can make the most out of his slow yet hard-hitting attacks. While Wulfgar will hit hard, he’ll suffer from a low health pool due to the lack on points in the Constitution attribute. Attributes Abilities For this build, use the entire Tempest Champion Set as this will grant you +0.5% Physical damage bonus per hit from combo meter and also +50% Reward Bonus Combo Meter threshold. This means the higher the number the of hits on the combo meter, the bigger the beast you will be dealing massive damage that just increases on every hit that you land. Each individual gear can have any of your preferred individual bonuses. For individual bonuses of each gear, we suggest going for gears that increase critical chance and strength. You can also focus on armor penetration to be stronger against those armored enemies. Last but not the least, have HP bonuses. It will really help as you will be throwing combos without stopping for breaks, so you need to be ready to take a hit, as well as any bonus that helps save stamina, either reduction, regen or even stamina bonus. First, make sure you have the potion loadout all sorted out. Health Potion is the most obvious choice as the first potion. This is especially useful since you’ll have a low hit point maximum. Second, go with Elixir of Resistance to stand against the hard hitting enemies and deal blows without the fear of losing too much health. Use Potion of Heroism to restore your Ultimate Meter. Wulfgar’s Ultimate is good and using it freely allows you to have a much easier time, then having to save it for that one big bad enemy who may or may not come. Elixir of Elemental Resistance is the last choice. Though not too handy, Elemental enemies are hard to deal with when you lack good range options. This allows you to last in such unfavorable conditions longer. Focus on the Wolf (offensive) and Elk (defensive) feats. This allows you to maximize Wulfgar’s damage whilst making him as resilient as possible. Wulfgar’s Ultimate, Wrath of Tempus is one of the best Ultimate attacks in the game. This build will focus on using this ability as much as possible and to its full extent. We will work on increasing the damage, and Wulfgar’s ability to disable his enemies allowing his to land free multiple hits. You’ll notice below that charisma is low even though it charges his ultimate. It’s a bit of a tradeoff, while you could bump charisma higher, you’ll need to sacrifice points from somewhere. You can opt to take points away from constitution but it’ll sacrifice health and stamina. Attributes Abilities Use the Tempest Champion Braces, Tempest Champion Helm and Tempest Champion Pelt. Using three of the same set will increase your physical damage per combo hit by 0.2%. this seems low but with Wulfgar’s insane damage, this will work perfectly. You can chose any piece from these depending on their individual bonuses. Next, use Blacksmith’s Apprentice Leg Guards, Blacksmith’s Apprentice Necklace and Blacksmith’s Apprentice Ring. Three of these will provide you +5% reduced damage taken as a bonus. Select the items with your preferred individual bonuses. The last two items can be of your own choosing and you can pick whatever you like. It’s suggested using something that reduced stamina drainage or increases max HP. First, make sure you have the potion loadout all sorted out. Health Potion is the most obvious choice as the first potion. Second, go with Elixir of Resistance to stand against the hard hitting enemies and deal blows without the fear of losing too much health. Use Potion of Heroism to restore your Ultimate Meter. Wulfgar’s Ultimate is good and using it freely allows you to have a much easier time, then having to save it for that one big bad enemy who may or may not come. Elixir of Stamina is the last choice. Wulfgar uses a lot of stamina in his attacks and it’s best to be prepared for difficult situations where resting is not an option. Focus on the Wolf (offensive) and Elk (defensive) feats. This allows you to maximize Wulfgar’s damage whilst making him as resilient as possible. One of the best features of Wulfgar is his ability to dish out massive damage whilst being a damage sponge himself. This build allows us to focus and amplify this quality of Wulfgar. We shall focus on strength and constitution allowing Wulfgar to deal massive damage numbers while being as resilient to enemy attacks and disabling them as much as possible. Attributes Abilities For this build, we suggest completely using Corsair’s Panache gear. Using all eight items of this set will grant you +25% bonus damage to Elites and all critical hits on Elites have 50% chance of dropping healing item or Ultimate Fragments. This will benefit you as you face a lot of elites later on. Each individual gear can have any of your preferred individual bonuses. For individual bonuses of each gear, we suggest going for gears that increase critical chance, strength charisma and provide Ultimate charge bonus. If you cannot get these, then focus on getting increased max HP and constitution. First, make sure you have the potion loadout all sorted out. Health Potion is the most obvious choice as the first potion. Second, go with Elixir of Concentration. This will allow you to use your abilities faster. With the combination of Endurance of the Elk and Primal Instinct, using your abilities as your health falls will turn you into a beast of the battlefield. Use Potion of Heroism to restore your Ultimate Meter. Wulfgar’s Ultimate is good and using it freely allows you to have a much easier time, then having to save it for that one big bad enemy who may or may not come. Elixir of Elemental Resistance is the last choice. Though not too handy, Elemental enemies are hard to deal with when you lack good range options. This allows you to last in such unfavourable conditions longer. Focus on the Wolf (offensive) and Elk (defensive) feats. This allows you to maximize Wulfgar’s damage whilst making him as resilient as possible.

 

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0.5
Clearco gets the SoftBank stamp of approval in new $215M round – TechCrunch

Toronto-based Clearco, a fintech capital provider for online companies, has raised $215 million in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund II. The financing event closed just weeks after Clearco completed its most recent financing, a $100 million round that quintupled its valuation to $2 billion. While the trend of rapid-fire, follow-on financing for startups is well-known these days, SoftBank’s involvement is notable for a meta reason: a Japanese Conglomerate that was once known for flashy nine-figure VC checks is putting millions of dollars into a company built on somewhat the opposite ethos: alternative financing that allows founders to avoid venture capital altogether. And while co-founders Michele Romanow and Andrew D’Souza admit that the two companies are on opposite sides of the spectrum, they also think the existing between the two entities led to a closed deal. “Their business was to rethink the way venture capital is done,” D’Souza said. “They saw what we were doing on the other end of the spectrum, which was to use technology to thousands of entrepreneurs, and that’s really what resonated.” Two years ago, Clearco, formerly Clearbanc, launched “the 20-minute term sheet”, a platform that allowed e-commerce companies to raise non-dilutive marketing growth capital between $10,000 to $10 million based on its revenue and ad spend. The founders then flexed rapid capital deployment based on data — and, to date, Clearco has put more than $2.5 billion in over 5,500 companies. In the past few year, Cleaco’s messaging has changed. Per D’Souza, fast, affordable and “unbiased” capital is still a big reason why people come to the company, but they are now focused on the “technical challenge on how to provide personalized advice and the support you get from an engaged investor, board member, advisor, but at the scale of thousands and millions.” The product map has followed this energy. In the last year, Clearco launched ClearRunway to help SaaS founders secure non-dilutive capital repaid through revenue-share agreements, a valuation tool, inventory buybacks, and ClearAngel, an alternative financing platform for founders with minimal revenue. Today’s money will be used to help Clearco grow to new geographies beyond Europe, Canada and the United States. Part of its international strategy will include M&A, as copycats emerge in emerging markets. While Clearco has grown from the anti-VC tool to a founder and capital services platform, its opinionated international energy may be what makes it a good deal for SoftBank. “We believe that we can back a million founders around the world if we can take this alternative financing model in every country,” Romanow said. “Masa has a different model, which was to put $100 million dollar in 100 companies,” she added, referring to Masayoshi Son, the billionaire at the helm of SoftBank. She noted how Son didn’t speak for the first eight minutes of Clearco’s pitch (which ultimately was the result of him paying attention, not questioning Clearco’s utility). Despite SoftBank’s previously garish personality, the group’s investment strategy may be changing. Per Nikkei Asia, SoftBank Vision Fund II has an average check size of $152 million, far lower than Vision Fund I’s average check size of $931 million. Still, the publication reports that the conglomerate has begun cranking up its investment cadence to one new deal a day. With the Clearco investment, its clear that it thinks that rewriting venture capital will include adding optionality to it, as well.

 

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0.5
How to use split screen on your Chromebook

Splitting your screen into two separate windows is a handy method of task management that fits well with busy Chromebooks. Splitting your screen is excellent for doing research, looking up tutorials, consulting multiple sources, comparing images or video, and much more. Fortunately, Chromebook makes this split option very easy to do or undo at a moment’s notice. Here’s how to split your screen on a Chromebook. For more on Chromebooks, you should check out our guide on the best Chromebooks you can buy and our look back at the history of Chrome OS. For this example, let’s start with a humble browser tab. Open your window as you normally would, and then look at the upper-right corner to see your options for window management. Look for the small Window icon — it’s typically the two-window “minimize” icon at this stage since the window is filling your entire screen, but it will change to a single-window “maximize” button when made smaller. For the purposes of splitting your screen, it doesn’t matter which version of the icon is there. Now, click the Minimize button and hold. With the cursor held down, drag the window toward one side of your screen or the other. You should activate a lock-on function that will snap the window toward one side or the other of your screen, with a temporary divider line appearing to indicate you are splitting your screen. Release and the window will be locked onto the side you dragged it to, but otherwise, everything should remain the same. If holding down and dragging is annoying (such as while using a trackpad), try only holding down for a second and releasing. Chrome OS should then show two Left/Right Arrows around the icon that you can click to lock the window over to one side. It’s a little slower but could be easier in some situations. With your first window in place, it’s time to tackle the other side. Open up another browser tab that you want to access, and once it’s ready, again click and hold on the Minimize/Maximize button in the upper-right corner. Drag this window to the opposite side of your first window, and it too should automatically snap into place, allowing you to release your cursor hold. Now the two windows will be active on the screen at the same time, allowing you to move freely between them. One key point to remember is that the minimize/maximize button should be available on all your Chrome apps, so you’re not stuck only splitting browser windows — you can also split a variety of apps and browser/app combinations as you need to. When you’ve finished with split-screen mode, click the Maximize button. This should return both windows to their expanded state and remove the locked-split screen. You can use the same trick to return to the split-screen whenever you want. This whole process generally works better with a mouse than a trackpad, as dragging and dropping objects with the latter may be a bit more challenging. With a little practice, you‘ll quickly get used to it and start splitting windows without a second thought. To make the process even easier, you can try mastering some keyboard shortcuts. Or, check out our guide on how to split your screen on Windows 10. There are also keyboard shortcuts for splitting your screen on Chromebook, and this can make the process even faster if you plan on splitting your windows frequently and would prefer a shortcut to do it. The shortcuts involved the Alt key and the bracket keys. Click on your window, and then press Alt + [ at the same time to lock the window to the left side, or Alt +] to lock the window on the right side.

 

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3.2
Nanoleaf Elements review: These handsome light panels look great powered on or off

Nanoleaf’s handsome Elements panels make for a great addition to a living or dining room, whether they’re pulsing with animated light shows or turned off.

 

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0.8
Developers react to GitHub Copilot

Microsoft subsidiary GitHub announced the new AI-powered Copilot service as a private beta for developers on June 29, 2021, with the “AI pair programmer” embedded in Microsoft’s massively popular Visual Studio Code editor as an extension for beta users. As developers write their code, Copilot will step in to make suggestions, much like the autocomplete feature in email applications like Gmail, but for code written in Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby, Go, and other programming languages. Copilot was built in collaboration with OpenAI, the artificial intelligence lab founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and others and that Microsoft invested $1 billion in last year. OpenAI adapted its GPT-3 language-prediction model for computer code for this project in a model it calls Codex. Teaching neural networks to write code is not a new endeavor, with startups like TabNine and Kite working on similar projects. But the heft of Microsoft and OpenAI means Copilot is a strong entrant to the market from Day 1. Philip John Basile, senior front-end developer at cybersecurity company Dragos, has dabbled with these other AI coding assistants, but told InfoWorld that Copilot is already “just on another level.” The announcement certainly made a splash, generating 1,200 comments on Hacker News in just two days and driving hundreds of early users to show off its hits and misses on social media. In terms of the developer experience today, a few early users—many of whom are GitHub Stars or Microsoft MVPs—have been showing off the capabilities on social media and in livestreams. Here’s what they have to say. Cassidy Williams, director of developer experience at PaaS company Netlify, said that Copilot “is going to be incredibly useful for things like smaller utilities that I have to often rewrite across various projects. The fact that I could use it to do certain capitalization patterns, or write certain pattern-matching functions for me that I would normally have to either just hunker down and write or look up how to do for the 100th time,” she told InfoWorld. “Instead of autocomplete, it gives me ideas for full-fledged functions, random code items, and can even pull together some written paragraphs for when I blog,” Dragos’s Basile said, based on his early experiences with the tool. “I think it really works extremely well as a very smart autocompletion tool,” prolific open source maintainer and software development consultant Alexey Golub told InfoWorld. “It can infer the context from your code and finish whatever line you were typing accurately most of the time. It also helps in other scenarios outside of coding too, like writing blog posts, talk abstracts, comments, or documentation. Sometimes, the right word might just barely escape you, but then Copilot suggests it for you.” Colby Fayock, a developer advocate at test automation company Applitools, stayed up all night playing with the tool once he was given early access. “I was surprised at how well it was able to provide answers for a lot of the input I tried,” he told InfoWorld. “The first thing that came to mind was that this would be most useful for generating common utility functions like sorting by date that one might use in different projects. Typically, that might be a common Google search for a Stack Overflow answer, but now I can just write the function and have that answer given to me right in Visual Studio Code.” Vinit Shahdeo, a software engineer at collaboration platform Postman, said “Copilot is definitely going to increase the developer’s efficiency by reducing development time and suggesting better alternatives for the code.” Although Copilot looks like a very useful productivity booster, it still has a long way to go to replace actual chunks of human developer work. “For more complex projects, I don’t think it can just write my code for me,” Netlify’s Williams said. “There were some nuances as I played with it where I could tell it was doing something fairly generic when I wanted something else. But, if it means I can get the tedious code out of the way so I can get my business logic done right, I’m all for it.” Dragos’s Basile said, “When you are working with it, it will give you 10 items that could be the right fit. Some of them are just flat-out terrible while others are perfect. You really need to sift through the sand to find the diamond.” Similarly, technical blogger Ray Villalobos often struggled to get a useful result, so he resorted to retyping comments until Copilot offered something useful. While Applitools’s Fayock was pleased with the tool, he didn’t feel as much joy when writing in React. “I tried some examples like generating a user profile, and part of the issue is creating a React component that is useful requires more than just some React, but also styles to go along with it,” he said — which Copilot does not support. “It also seems to struggle when trying to generate something that would ultimately require a library to import.” So the AI isn’t coming for your developer jobs just yet. Furthermore, Postman’s Shahdeo is wary of newcomers to the industry becoming reliant on tools like Copilot, “as this might block their learning path if they get into the habit of autocomplete.” “I’m not sure a computer will ever be as good as a person, but it does give you a good starting point and sometimes the code it returns makes you think about how to approach as solution,” blogger Villalobos said. Although Copilot shows initial promise, even GitHub is cautious about its enterprise applicability at this early stage. GitHub notes in its FAQ that the code Copilot suggests “may not always work, or even make sense. While we are working hard to make GitHub Copilot better, code suggested by GitHub Copilot should be carefully tested, reviewed, and vetted, like any other code. As the developer, you are always in charge.” “I think it can already be used at enterprise level,” Golub said. “Worst case, it will just not do anything (if its suggestions are not relevant then you can just ignore them); best case, it will save you time and be more productive.”

 

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1.0
Get a look at CodeSandbox

The integrated development environment (IDE) remains the centerpiece of developer tools. Online IDEs have ridden the wave of cloud-based tools, growing in power over the last few years. CodeSandbox is one of the more popular options in that space, and its usage has been increasing recently. CodeSandbox is gaining popularity in social coding for its ease of use, simplified technology support, and reasonable cost structure — including free public sandboxes. In addition, CodeSandbox is an open source project. Read on for an introduction to CodeSandbox and its capabilities. You’ll understand why it’s becoming so popular. CodeSandbox is best known as an environment for quickly spinning up and sharing front-end JavaScript apps. That sounds similar to CodePen and JSFiddle, but in fact CodeSandbox is a more ambitious project, with full-stack support almost comparable to a full-fledged online IDE like Cloud9 — albeit only for JavaScript. CodeSandbox makes it very easy to share projects. For example, here is a link to simple static HTML sample. If you click this, your browser will open up the IDE sandbox, with a simple HTML greeting from InfoWorld, along with the InfoWorld logo — similar to Figure 1. Notice that the system has generated a unique name for the project (“stoic-shaw-c9u57”). This is the persistent name for the project and is used for sharing and embedding. CodeSandbox has good embedding capabilities, including automatic support at Medium and simple iframing. Now let’s fix the InfoWorld logo’s size styling by forking the project and adding a stylesheet. Click the Fork button in the top right. This will create a new unique URL for your project, with the same codebase. Make sure you are on the file explorer (the second icon down on the left-hand menu bar). In the Files pane header, click the Add Directory icon. Create a /css directory, then use the Add File button on the new directory to add an index.css file. You can now add a CSS rule like Listing 1 to the css/index.css file, and import it into index.html as seen in Listing 2. You can see these changes live here. The previous simple excercise should give you a sense of CodeSandbox’s capabilities, but also introduce you to a chief way that you get access to code on the platform: via URL shares. The next primary way is via creating a new project using Templates. Let's get a look at that next. In the top-right, click the Create Sanbox button. This will get you a dialog similar to Figure 2. You can see that the dialog is offering you templates to use. You can find even more community-created templates (as in thousands more) by selecting Explore Templates. And you can import templates from GitHub with the Import Project option, which you’ll see in a moment. For now, just use the Create Sandbox option, and type “Svelte” in the search box. This will offer up the official Svelte template from CodeSandbox. Select this template. Notice that the layout of the CodeSandbox IDE is flexible. Most panes can be resized, the text editors support split-view, and a variety of layout options are available under the View menu. You can use these options to customize the layout to your tastes. Note that the Svelte template gives us a full-fledged Svelte app, with Rollup configured as the build tool. If you open the package.json file, you’ll see everything you’d expect. CodeSandbox also detects your dependencies, and you can manage them from the dependency pane just below the file browser. Note that the system is smart enough to also detect the external dependency, bootstrap.css, along with those from the package.json file. While we have this project open, I want to you to see that many of the commands follow Visual Studio Code conventions. For example, Ctrl-Shift-p will open the command palette, while Ctrl-p will launch the file finder. If you press Ctrl-p and start typing “App,” App.svelte will appear for quick-open. Now let’s get an understanding of Sandbox environments. These determine how CodeSandbox hosts your project. In your new Svelte app, if you select Sandbox Info at the top of the left-hand menu, you’ll see that it says “environment: static.” This means the sandbox is running as a simple front-end application like JSFiddle. CodeSandbox supports running Node-based apps as well. When running Node.js apps, CodeSandbox uses a Docker container with the official Node.js image. In addition to allowing access to the Node.js runtime and the scripts in the package.json, the Node.js environment allows for access to a command line terminal. To see this in action, create a new sandbox using the official Node.js template, as seen in Figure 3. Notice the environment now says “Node.” The package.json and index.js files are what you’d expect for a simple HTTP module with a “Hello world” response. There is also a “server config” (the icon that looks like a server stack) that allows you to change things like the port. You can now use an interactive terminal. On the bottom right, you’ll see that a read-only output terminal named “yarn start” is running. Next to that, you can click the plus icon to get a command line. In there, you can type ls to see the directory listing. Notice that the app is running in /bin/bash/sandbox. Now click the GitHub icon on the left-hand menu, then click Sign In. Enter your GitHub credentials. You now have the ability to export this sandbox to a new repo, or to import from an existing repo to a new sandbox. This integration makes CodeSandbox pretty handy for sharing and modifying small applications that are in version control. To use private GitHub repos, you’ll need a pro account, which at the time of writing costs $9 per month. In addition to the methods you’ve already seen — using a template and importing from GitHub — CodeSandbox offers a command line tool that will import a project from your local system. You can obtain the tool here. And you can add a browser extension that will allow you to import directly from GitHub. Another handy feature is the ability to export your project to a Zip file. That allows you to use CodeSandbox for rapid prototyping and then export the prototype to your traditional IDE when your app outgrows it. You can find this feature under File -> Export. CodeSandbox has integrated support for tests for client-side apps. If your project is built with a supported technology stack, tests should work out-of-the-box with a button click. Server-side sandboxes will not auto-detect tests, but they can be run as normal (via NPM script). You can access the automated test tab next to the browser preview tab. Another important feature to be aware of is integration with deployment platforms. On the left, the rocket icon when clicked will expose the available deployment options. For instance, the Node.js template can be deployed to Vercel. Deployment integrations make for a smooth delivery pipeline for simple scenarios. Last but not least, the bottom-most button on the left-hand menu will activate Live mode, wherein the IDE is shareable and simultaneously editable. Live mode provides you with a link for sharing the sandbox and a variety of options like the ability to control who can edit. Live collaboration mode is an interesting approach to working on ideas with other remotely deployed developers. Although CodeSandbox can’t match the features and polyglot support of IDEs like Eclipse, VS Code, or even AWS Cloud9, it boasts a number of interesting features for quickly prototyping, sharing, and collaborating on smaller projects and ideas. It will be interesting to watch how CodeSandbox evolves and builds upon its existing popularity and capabilities.

 

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0.8
How to use R with BigQuery

Do you want to analyze data that resides in Google BigQuery as part of an R workflow? Thanks to the bigrquery R package, it’s a pretty seamless experience — once you know a couple of small tweaks needed to run dplyr functions on such data. First, though, you’ll need a Google Cloud account. Note that you’ll need your own Google Cloud account even if the data is in someone else’s account and you don’t plan on storing your own data. Click the New Project option in order to create a new project. You should see the option to create a new project at the left side of Google Cloud’s top navigation bar. Click on the dropdown menu to the right of “Google Cloud Platform” (it might say “select project” if you don’t have any projects already). Give your project a name. If you have billing enabled already in your Google account you’ll be required to select a billing account; if you don’t, that probably won’t appear as an option. Then click ”Create.” If you don’t like the default project ID assigned to your project, you can edit it before clicking the Create button. If you don’t like the project ID that is automatically generated for your project, you can edit it, assuming you don’t pick something that is already taken. Once you finish your new project setup, you’ll see a general Google Cloud dashboard that may seem a bit overwhelming. What are all these things and where is BigQuery? You probably don’t need to worry about most of the other services, but you do want to be able to easily find BigQuery in the midst of them all. The initial Google Cloud home screen can be a bit overwhelming if you are looking to use just one service. (I’ve since deleted this project.) One way is to “pin” BigQuery to the top of your left navigation menu. (If you don’t see a left nav, click the three-line “hamburger” at the very top left to open it.) Scroll all of the way down, find BigQuery, hover your mouse over it until you see a pin icon, and click the pin. Scroll down to the bottom of the left navigation in the main Google Cloud home screen to find the BigQuery service. You can “pin” it by mousing over until you see the pin icon and then clicking on it. Now BigQuery will always show up at the top of your Google Cloud Console left navigation menu. Scroll back up and you’ll see BigQuery. Click on it, and you’ll get to the BigQuery console with the name of your project and no data inside. If the Editor tab isn’t immediately visible, click on the “Compose New Query” button at the top right. Now what? People often start learning BigQuery by playing with an available public data set. You can pin other users’ public data projects to your own project, including a suite of data sets collected by Google. If you go to this URL in the same BigQuery browser tab you’ve been working in, the Google public data project should automatically pin itself to your project. Thanks to JohannesNE on GitHub for this tip: You can pin any data set you can access by using the URL structure shown below. If this doesn’t work, check to make sure you’re in the right Google account. If you’ve logged into more than one Google account in a browser, you may have been sent to a different account than you expected. Clicking on a table in the BigQuery web interface lets you see its schema, along with a tab for previewing data. Click on the table name to see its schema. There is also a “Preview” tab that lets you view some actual data. There are other, less point-and-click ways to see your data structure. But first.... You get 1 TB of data queries free each month; each additional TB of data processed for analysis costs $5. If you’re running SQL queries directly on the data, Google advises never running a SELECT * command, which goes through all available columns. Instead, SELECT only the specific columns you need to cut down on the data that needs to be processed. This not only keeps your costs down; it also makes your queries run faster. I do the same with my R dplyr queries, and make sure to select only the columns I need. If you’re wondering how you can possibly know how much data your query will use before it runs, there’s an easy answer. In the BigQuery cloud editor, you can type a query without running it and then see how much data it will process, as shown in the screenshot below. Using the BigQuery SQL editor in the web interface, you can find your table under its data set and project. Typing in a query without running it shows how much data it will process. Remember to use `projectname.datasetname.tablename` in your query Even if you don’t know SQL, you can do a simple SQL column selection to get an idea of the cost in R, since any additional filtering or aggregating doesn’t decrease the amount of data analyzed. So, if your query is running over three columns named columnA, columnB, and columnC in table-id, and table-id is in dataset-id that’s part of project-id, you can simply type the following into the query editor: Don’t run the query, just type it and then look at the line at the top right to see how much data will be used. Whatever else your R code will be doing with that data shouldn’t matter for the query cost. In the screenshot above, you can see that I’ve selected three columns from the schedules table, which is part of the baseball data set, which is part of the bigquery-public-data project. There are other things you can do to limit costs. For more tips, see Google’s “Controlling costs in BigQuery” page. No, you don’t need a credit card to start using BigQuery. But without billing enabled, your account is a BigQuery “sandbox” and not all queries will work. I strongly suggest adding a billing source to your account even if you’re highly unlikely to exceed your quota of free BigQuery analysis. Now — finally! — let’s look at how to tap into BigQuery with R. I’ll be using the bigrquery package in this tutorial, but there are other options you may want to consider, including the obdc package or RStudio’s professional drivers and one of its enterprise products. To query BigQuery data with R and bigrquery, you first need to set up a connection to a data set using this syntax: The first argument is the bigquery() function from the bigrquery package, telling dbConnect that you want to connect to a BigQuery data source. The other arguments outline the project ID, data set name, and billing project ID. (Connection objects can be called pretty much anything, but by convention they’re often named con.) The code below loads the bigrquery and dplyr libraries and then creates a connection to the schedules table in the baseball data set. For example, to list all available tables in the baseball data set, I’d run this code: If you use the base R str() command to examine skeds’ structure, you’ll see a list, not a data frame: Fortunately, dplyr functions such as glimpse() often work pretty seamlessly with this type of object (class tbl_BigQueryConnection). Running glimpse(skeds) will return mostly what you expect — except it doesn’t know how many rows are in the data. That tells me glimpse() may not be parsing through the whole data set — and means there’s a good chance it’s not running up query charges but is instead querying metadata. When I checked my BigQuery web interface after running that command, there indeed was no query charge. You can run dplyr commands on table objects almost the same way as you do on conventional data frames. But you’ll probably want one addition: piping results from your usual dplyr workflow into the collect() function. The code below uses dplyr to see what years and home teams are in the skeds table object and saves the results to a tibble (special type of data frame used by the tidyverse suite of packages). Pricing note: I checked the above query using a SQL statement seeking the same info: When I did, the BigQuery web editor showed that only 21.1 KiB of data were processed, not more than 10 MB. Why was I billed so much more? Queries have a 10 MB minimum (and are rounded up to the next MB). Aside: If you want to store results of an R query in a temporary BigQuery table instead of a local data frame, you could add compute(name = “my_temp_table”) to the end of your pipe instead of collect(). However, you’d need to be working in a project where you have permission to create tables, and Google’s public data project is definitely not that. If you run the same code without collect(), such as You can run the saved query by using the object name alone in a script: You can see the SQL being generated by your dplyr statements with show_query() at the end of your chained pipes: You can cut and paste this SQL into the BigQuery web interface to see how much data you’ll use. Just remember to change the plain table name such as `schedules` to the syntax `project.dataset.tablename`; in this case, `bigquery-public-data.baseball.schedules`. If you run the same exact query a second time in your R session, you won’t be billed again for data analysis because BigQuery will use cached results. If you’re comfortable writing SQL queries, you can also run SQL commands within R if you want to pull data from BigQuery as part of a larger R workflow. For example, let’s say you want to run this SQL command: You can do so within R by using the DBI package’s dbGetQuery() function. Here is the code: Note that I was billed again for the query because BigQuery does not consider one query in R and another in SQL to be exactly the same, even if they’re seeking the same data. If I run that SQL query again, I won’t be billed. After the one-time initial setup, it’s as easy to analyze BigQuery data in R as it is to run dplyr code on a local data frame. Just keep your query costs in mind. If you’re running a dozen or so queries on a 10 GB data set, you won’t come close to hitting your 1 TB free monthly quota. But if you’re working on larger data sets daily, it’s worth looking at ways to streamline your code.

 

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0.2
Getting started with time series analysis

From stock market analysis to economic forecasting, earthquake prediction, and industrial process and quality control, time series analysis has countless applications that enterprises of all kinds rely on to detect trends, develop forecasts, and improve outcomes. In the past year, using time series modeling to manage responses to the pandemic has definitely been one of the most urgent applications of time series analysis. Time series analysis involves identifying attributes of your time series data, such as trend and seasonality, by measuring statistical properties such as covariance and autocorrelation. Once the attributes of observed time series data are identified, they can be interpreted, integrated with other data, and used for anomaly detection, forecasting, and other machine learning tasks. Programming languages used for time series analysis and data science include Python, R, Java, Flux, and others. Learning how time series pertains to data science is a great place to start whether you’re interested in becoming a data scientist or simply need to perform time series forecasting or anomaly detection for your use case. As the Internet of Things (IoT) plays a larger role in all of our lives and as industrial IoT technologies increasingly depend on time series analysis to achieve operational efficiencies and enable predictive maintenance, the ability to scalably ingest, store, and analyze time series data has become a necessity within data infrastructures. To ingest and manage time series data, a purpose-built time series platform with built-in UI and analytics capabilities can go a long way in preparing an organization to handle time series data and run data modeling and online machine learning workloads. An effective purpose-built time series database should enable users to automatically retire old data, easily downsample data to lower-resolution data, and transform time series on a schedule in preparation for future analysis. Another necessity, since time series analysis is based on data plotted against time, is to visualize the data—often in real time—to observe any patterns that might occur over time. An effective purpose-built UI should facilitate cross-collaboration with teams working on time series in different time zones, efficiently render visualizations that represent millions of time series points, and easily enable users to take corrective action in response to their time series data. Time series data can be understood through three components or characteristics: In a time series, the independent variable is often time itself, which is used to develop forecasts. To get to that point, you have to understand whether the time series is “stationary” or whether there is seasonality. A time series is stationary if it has a constant mean and variance regardless of changes in the independent variable of time itself. Covariance is frequently used as a measure of the stationarity of a series. Autocorrelation is frequently used to identify seasonality within a time series. Autocorrelation measures the similarity of observations between a time series and a delayed or lagged copy of that time series. The first step in performing time series forecasting is to learn about various algorithms and methods that exist to help you achieve your goal. Always research the underlying statistical assumptions of the algorithm you choose, and verify whether or not your data violates those assumptions. Classical time series forecasting models fall into three broad categories: The attributes of your time series data, as well as your use case, help you determine which time series forecasting model to use. Various time series analysis methods serve various purposes. For example:

 

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0.0
How to stop macOS Mail from using a bad email address

Apple wants to make sure it’s easy for you to use email addresses to reach people. To that end, it has several mechanisms that let you store an address and others that automatically retain addresses apps and macOS observe: The multiplicity of locations can make it frustrating to track down and remove an email address you no longer want to fill in automatically when you start typing someone’s name in a new message. An unwanted address typically crops up when someone you know changes their primary email address or gets rid of one they were still using as a backup. You had this address in your Contacts and have exchanged messages using it. My spouse recently encountered this problem with a colleague and it took us a good 30 minutes to track down the issue and eliminate it. Our pain is your gain. Start with Contacts. The most likely location for a lingering email address is in a wayward contact record. Open Contacts and search on the address you want to remove, not the person’s name. My partner found that she had duplicate entries for her colleague that were nearly but not quite identical. One contained the old address. Look in Mail’s Previous Recipients list. You may never have interacted with this list, found in Window > Previous Recipients. It contains every address you’ve ever sent a message to unless you’ve removed it from this list. Search for the address here. If it’s in the list, select it and click Remove From List. (I wrote about this particular problem last in 2016!) Disable Siri Suggestions for Mail. In the Siri preference pane, click Siri Suggestions & Privacy and select Mail. Uncheck Show Siri Suggestions in App. Remove the address within a message’s To field. If none of that solves the problem, use a different and highly unintuitive Mail field. First, start typing the name that autofills to the person you want to send an address to or the address without their name attached. Select the person or address, hover over the item that’s now filled into the address field, and click the downward-pointing arrow to its right. Finally, select Remove Address. This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Lynn. We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently, along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to mac911@macworld.com, including screen captures as appropriate and whether you want your full name used. Not every question will be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

 

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0.3
DOJ Pinkie Swears Not to Torture Julian Assange If He's Extradited to U. S.

The U. S. Department of Justice has promised a court in the UK not to place Julian Assange in a super-maximum security prison or solitary confinement if he’s extradited to the U. S., according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. Solitary confinement is defined as torture by most wealthy countries around the world, though it’s common practice in the U. S. for even minor offenses. The UK denied a request by the DOJ to extradite Assange in early 2020, because the judge said the WikiLeaks cofounder was likely to attempt suicide if he was shipped to the U. S. to stand trial. Judges in Europe can block extradition to any country where it’s believed the prisoner will face torture, a practice the U. S. commits routinely without calling it by the name “torture.” The 50-year-old Assange was sentenced to almost a year in prison in 2019 for jumping bail in 2012. Asange claimed asylum in Ec uador’s embassy in London and lived there for almost seven years before Ec uador’s government revoked Assange’s asylum and he was subsequently dragged out in April of 2019. The DOJ under President Donald Trump charged Assange in the U. S. with 18 counts of violating the Espionage Act for publishing leaked material from the U. S. in 2010 and 2011, including documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The DOJ has continued that prosecution under current p resident Joe Biden. Assange is also charged with one count of computer hacking. Together, the charges could bring a sentence of up to 175 years in prison. The lone charge of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” was over Assange’s alleged attempt to help whistleblower Chelsea Manning crack the password on a U. S. government computer that contained allegedly classified material back in 2010. Manning spent a lot of her time in prison enduring the torture of solitary confinement. Assange previously said he would give himself up to U. S. authorities if Chelsea Manning was pardoned, but he went back on that promise after President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence. In 2017, Assange claimed Obama only let Manning go free to make Assange look like a liar. The judge in Assange’s extradition case, Vanessa Baraitser, noted in her ruling back in January that the WikiLeaks cofounder would likely be placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day while he awaited trial in the U. S., something that most of the world sees as unacceptable—at least outside of totalitarian states like North Korea. “Mr. Assange faces the bleak prospect of severely restrictive detention conditions designed to remove physical contact and reduce social interaction and contact with the outside world to a bare minimum. He faces these prospects as someone with a diagnosis of clinical depression and persistent thoughts of suicide,” Judge Baraitser wrote in her ruling earlier this year. “I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” Baraister wrote. The British judge did not rule on the other merits of the DOJ’s case and seemed sympathetic to the idea that Assange had crossed a line in the publication of classified materials, though notably the UK doesn’t have particularly robust protections for free speech. Curiously, the DOJ has also reportedly promised that Assange might be able to serve his prison term in his native Australia after he faces trial in the U. S., something that’s not typical, as the Wall Street Journal notes: How likely is the DOJ to honor their agreements not to torture Assange? U. S. officials told the judge that they reserve the right to go back on any of their promises if Assange “were to do something subsequent to the offering of these assurances,” according to the Wall Street Journal. It doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, to say the least.

 

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0.8
Samsung announces the adoption of OpenChain ISO/IEC international standard

Samsung Electronics has announced that it has adopted the first international standard for open source compliance, OpenChain ISO (International Organization for Standardization) / IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) 5230:2020. The advanced R&D hub of the tech giant, Samsung Research has been carrying out a range of actions for secure and structured employment of open source with professional establishments and frameworks since 2012. General Manager of OpenChain, Shane Coughlan stated that: In 2016, the OpenChain Project started as an initiative of a non-profit organization, Linux Foundation, with the goal of forming a competent and compatible open source compliance framework. In 2020, the same project was adopted as an ISO/IEC international standard. The purpose of this project is to assess the open source compliance potentiality of each company and then authorize them if they satisfy the criteria. Executive Vice President and Head of R&D Strategy Team, Seungbeom Choi stated that: Samsung has also set up a framework to determine open source licenses and adhere to specifications at the level of development from software planning to administration and authentication, along with forming a global integrated open source policy with global research associations.

 

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0.5
Minecraft is now an R-rated game in South Korea

Minecraft has become an adult-only title in South Korea, thanks to Xbox Live accounts in the region only being available to people over the age of 19. As reported by The Korea Herald (via GamesIndustry), Minecraft will soon be classified as an R-rated game in South Korea thanks to Microsoft informing players in the region that they will need an Xbox Live account in order to play the game. This harkens back to a law that was introduced in the country back in 2011 that prohibits minors from playing games between midnight and 6am. Rather than add systems that can identify minors during that time, Microsoft just changed its Korean policy to only allow those over the age of 19 to hold an Xbox Live account. Watch on YouTube When it comes to Minecraft, probably because it’s so popular with a younger crowd, players have been able to sign in with their Mojang accounts, circumventing the need to be 19 in order to play online. That has changed now, though, and Microsoft is enforcing the need for an Xbox Live account in order to sign into and play Minecraft. “For players in South Korea, you must be 19 years of age or older to purchase and play the Java edition of Minecraft,” the game’s description on its official site now reads. This means the Korean market is, currently, the only place in the world where Minecraft is registered as an adult game. But the situation may change in the future. “We are proceeding with the global migration of Mojang accounts to Microsoft accounts for Minecraft: Java Edition including for our players in South Korea,” Microsoft told GamesIndustry. “We’re working on a longer term solution for existing and new players under the age of 19 in South Korea and will have more to share on this later this year.” Predictably, the change has not gone down well with Korean players: The Korea Herald noted that a petition to reverse the move has been supported by over 15,000 Koreans.

 

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0.7
One of the world's best e-bikes gets a huge price cut for its first anniversary

One of the best electric bikes around has just received a big price cut for its first anniversary. The Cowboy 3 launched last year at €2,290 / £1,990 (about $2,700 / AU$3,600), but is now available to order for just €1,990 / £1,690 (about $2,500 / AU$3,200) direct from Cowboy. That price includes mudguards and home delivery, and makes the Cowboy 3 one of the most affordable e-bikes of its type. When we reviewed the Cowboy 3 last year, we were particularly impressed by its fuss-free design, with fully internal cabling and an easily cleaned carbon belt drive, which lasts substantially longer than a chain and doesn't need oiling or tensioning. There are no gears or power settings; instead, the bike's motor 240W motor kicks in automatically when you push off, and adjusts its output in response to the pressure being applied to the pedals. It'll provide a little assistance when you're cruising on the flat, but much more on steep climbs to help take the sweat out of hills. We found the ride extremely smooth, and even a year later, the motor remains one of the quietest of any e-bike we've tested. The Cowboy 3 is the predecessor of the Cowboy 4, which recently took the number one spot in our roundup of the best e-bikes of 2021. Whereas the first three Cowboy models were only available with a step-over frame, the Cowboy 4 introduced a new step-through option that makes the bike more accessible for anyone who wants to be able to hop off quickly when riding in the city, commuters riding in their work clothes, and those with limited mobility. The Cowboy 4 is available to pre-order now, and both the step-over and step-through models are priced at €2,290 / £1,990 (about $2,700 / AU$3,600). While you can certainly find cheaper electric bikes, we advise always looking for one from an established brand that offers a warranty, carries replacement parts, and can advise on where to take it for servicing. Cowboy also offers a range of optional subscription services, including theft insurance, which gives you notifications if your bike is stolen and provides real-time tracking to help you get it back. There's also a mobile servicing plan for riders in Europe, which lets you call out an engineer to repair your bike and get it back on the road as soon as possible.

 

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0.1
E-commerce spending continues to surge in the wake of pandemic

New research has revealed that over half of future global e-commerce spend is expected to be online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for 51% of retail sales around the world. The report from consultancy firm Wunderman Thompson Commerce, surveying 28000 consumers, found that over a quarter, or 27% of consumer spending in the UK is also solely through e-commerce giant Amazon. At the same time, the research highlighted how consumers around the globe would like Amazon and other online outlets to pay more taxes, with 56% wanting the company to make a larger contribution. Despite public unease about the amount of tax large e-commerce organisations pay consumers have developed an insatiable desire to shop online. The survey found that 72% of global shoppers reckoned that online shopping was vital during 2020, particularly during lockdown periods. The appeal continues to grow too, with 73% stating that e-commerce would be more important to them for the rest of 2021. However, somewhat surprisingly, two thirds of shoppers around the world reported that they would still favour shopping with brands that have both an online presence and physical, bricks and mortar stores. The study also highlights the growing need for businesses to digitize their operations faster in order to evolve with the demand for e-commerce features. A good example is the success of marketplaces operated by the likes of Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com, Mercado Libre and eBay, which now account for 42% of all online spend globally. And, far from making consumers nervous about the potential limitations of sticking with one retailer for buying goods,64% of people questioned felt enthusiastic about spending their money via the marketplace options of a single retailer. The presence of Covid-19 remains a strong reason for putting many consumers off shopping in physical stores, with 41% reporting they’re concerned about the prospect of setting foot in a shop. However, the percentage has dropped from the 48% who said the same thing last year. Along with coronavirus fears, consumers also want a more joined-up shopping experience, and expect a seamless journey across both digital and physical channels. Retailers clearly have work to do, with 73% stating that business owners need to get better at delivering the products, service and overall experience that they’re after. Outlets are therefore faced with beefing up all of their sales channels, including social commerce, which is increasingly becoming a vital part of the e-commerce landscape. The research itself reveals that 44% of global consumers have already bought something via a social platform, while 56% plan to do more of it in the future. “2021 and beyond will usher in an era of more diverse online offerings, with marketplaces, direct-to-consumer brand sites and social commerce all having a key role to play,” said Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce. “Businesses must ensure that this more complex online landscape complements their overall retail offering which needs to span digital and physical.”

 

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0.4
Chrome tests new feature that lets you quickly switch between Google Search results

Of late, Google has been testing several noteworthy changes in Chrome for Android. The company is revamping the browser’s UI with Material Design elements, it’s testing a new “Shortcuts” widget, and it has even added Android 12 ‘s bouncy scrolling to the browser. The latest addition to this list is a feature that adds alternate Google Search results underneath the address bar to help you quickly switch between them. The new feature is available on Chrome for Android v91.0.4472.120, but it’s hidden behind an experimental flag (via 9to5Google). To enable it, you’ll have to navigate to chrome://flags and then search for the “Continuous Search Navigation” flag. The flag enables “caching of search results to permit a more seamless search experience.” L: Continuous Search Navigation flag; R: New search results bar beneath the address bar Once enabled, the feature displays an additional bar underneath the address bar with alternate search results. You can tap on these results to quickly switch between them, without the need to navigate back to the Google Search results page. Screenshot: 9to5Google It’s worth noting that 9to5Google ‘s video showcases a more refined version of the feature with a better design, an additional Google logo to the left to help you switch back to the original search results page, and an “X” icon to the right to remove the bar. However, the updated design isn’t available widely at the moment. I checked the latest Canary, Dev, and Beta releases on my phone, and I didn’t find this version. This suggests that the feature isn’t quite ready for primetime, and it might be a while before it shows up on your phone. We’ll make sure to let you know as soon as it starts rolling out with a future Chrome release.

 

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0.7
England vs Italy: What time is kick-off?

Euro 2020 has been a tournament to remember so far. The elimination of only eight teams from the group stages took away some of the tension, but the competition has sprung into life in the knockout stages. However, many of the fancied teams exited the competition far sooner than they'd hoped, including holders Portugal, World Cup winners France and World No.1's Belgium.

 

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0.2
Escape From Tarkov Best Graphics Settings – FXAA vs. TAA – Updated With Patch 0.12.11

We all know how vital the gameplay in Escape From Tarkov is. Most of the time, your raids’ performance depends on your graphic settings, which is a variable sometimes triggered by firm eyesight or game performance. Everyone is tired of the stutters or low fps on bigger maps that could be the main culprit for your death. Well, we’re here to help you find the best settings in EFT, and hopefully, satisfy your needs. After EFT patch 0.12, some novel additions in the Graphics settings, such as TAA (Temporal Anti-Aliasing), and other options players can choose from and set up what they strive for. Again, when it comes to a game where you either win or lose it all, the balance between performance and imagery is very important. For the first time, Patch 0.12.5 introduced players to Post FX effects. This addition will replace the Nvidia Freestyle, which filters have had somewhat the same purpose. With this, we have to update our best graphics settings. Not every human eye desires what we opt for, but trust us; the options below are worth trying. As you may have noticed, I’ve decided to change this a bit and offer people different choices. While FXAA might be more pleasant on your eyes and without blurriness, TAA is supposed to be the opposite but also less costly on your gaming rig. What I noticed recently is that the weather plays a huge role in the eyesight in Escape From Tarkov. It’s not all about the graphics settings, and it goes far deeper than that. Dark areas vs bright areas, sunny weather, raining, foggy, sunrise or sunset… everything plays a part in the game. Hence, I have decided to add a TAA version that is seemingly quite decent. TAA also naturally tackles the curvy lines on textures due to scene transition, which is in fact a huge benefit to spot an enemy running on the field (especially if around those textures). Nevertheless, it is a bit blurrier, and yeah, if you’re playing on FXAA and do not find it too sharp for your eyes, then stick to it. In any case, I have posted the TAA version just under the FXAA one. You can find them both below: In the end, in Escape From Tarkov, it’s all about the balance. The balance between performance and visibility is undoubtedly the most important. Having a satisfying amount of FPS while being able to designate your enemy (a “ bush wookie ” or ambient occlusion camouflage master) indeed pays out. We have experimented with all the graphics settings on each map, measuring and evaluating both the performance and visibility. Without further ado, let’s take a look at our best EFT settings below: First of all, the ability to spot enemy players at a large distance relies heavily on the FoV (Field of View). Escape from Tarkov is using a vertical FoV. The FoV represented there differs from other video games which are normally using horizontal FoV. I would put it simply like this: the larger the number is, the wider the perspective, but the smaller the people you see in the distance (100m and above). It also obstructs the gunplay. For example, sniping. Zeroing on different FoVs feels different, shoots different, so playing at one FoV and getting used to it is always a good idea. One more thing. As you probably noticed, we’re making changes to the settings below almost on daily basis. If you want to follow and help through, make sure you check this article and attune the tweaks on your client if necessary. If you have anything to suggest, don’t be shy, please let us know in the comments below! We’re still working on finding the best all-around values for every environment. This is the new effects feature in Escape From Tarkov. It allows players to personalize the look of the game further. The new Post FX Settings have made us change the graphic settings above. Our Post FX Settings can be found below: The only big part that differs here is the POST FX settings and the sharpness value. We had to try numerous of combinations before we got a decent look, both in closed and open areas. For example Reserve’s underbelly vs Reserve’s expanse. Balancing is what we try to do the best, so we hope the settings below would fit you well. This is the new effects feature in Escape From Tarkov. It allows players to personalize the look of the game further. The new Post FX Settings have made us change the graphic settings above. Our Post FX Settings can be found below: Keep in mind that the settings above fit perfectly with a visor. Not too blurry, not too sharpen, but just the crispy clear image you need, same as with FXAA. There are some pros and cons, and Escape From Tarkov still doesn’t represent the final product, which means further polishing will be done, including new content alongside the slew of updates. The most important thing during patch 0.12 is to make sure the game is running in Fullscreen. For some reason, it bugs out, and even if the setting states the game is in Fullscreen, it might be in windowed mode. Therefore, after entering a raid, make sure you’re still in Fullscreen by re-saving the graphics options. Useful for retaining a substantial FPS. please update this to 12.8. Working on it at the moment! Wow, great settings. Going to FXAA I’m getting stable 100-120 frames on all maps. I can spot enemies further away as well. Everyone runs TAA, I feel everyone that plays eft needs to read this. Not a single professional player wants anti-aliasing due to this issue. They usually turn them off, first because of better performance, second because of clear eyesight, but in Tarkov, that’s way too obstructing and is why I had to go with some option, in this case, FXAA. Thanks for the comment btw, tried my best. Great setting my man. Thanks. Do these settings take into account using pain meds majority of the raid? I’m trying to find the perfect graphic settings and almost always have goldenstar active. It gets slightly pixelated but that’s how it’s supposed to be. We’re not trying to break the game you know. You can try lowering the sharpen if it fits you better, up to you. I get that most players have a powerful enough of a system if they play Tarkov to be able to process higher FPS to their suitable powerful 140hz-220hz G-sync/V-Sync/Off-sync/N-Sync *dirty pop* so every single guide I find is for them and about “pushing those frames”. Well what should I do with my 60hz LCD TV with some years behind? I sit around 48-59/61fps and this game works like a charm at times and other times not so much. I got a racer computer some mounths ago.16Gig ram, RTX 2060 intel core i5 (i think its called) shouldn’t I be able to crank up the visuals and enjoy its beauty without loosing any remarkable FPS? I have mixed with the settings bc I realized the responding time and the frames didn’t match up but now I can see “lines” when moving around. Its not half of an image above and the old one behind. My GPU probably have all images stored up so its oh so slightly but still to bug me. At least the responding time got solved when I instead got an inconsistent refresgrate. I’ve tried locking the game to 59fps and 58fps but made no difference. You can spend 10k on bullets that drop on their armor as if they are peas and you could die from starvation near the finish line and you can get shot by invisible snipers and blown up by invisible mines but you first have to by a tech-engineer and change and boost and close options that has been set to default and counter it with changes here and there so the gpu and cpu feel they got something to prove to my PS4 and all nights on MW jet motor or something. Haha! I wish I could click “graphics – ultra” and just enjoy the game as I do in every other game I play. =( You have more than a good GPU to run the game at higher fps than what you say. Escape From Tarkov is CPU heavy, it actually requires a solid CPU. The GPU you have is more than fine. i5 CPU is more than fine, but could you specify what CPU exactly? I have these settings on my computer setup, and just got the RTX 3070 but I’m only able to push an average of 70-80 frames. Is there a reason for this? In Tarkov, the performance depends on multiple factors. It depends on the map and player capacity depends on the servers… but most importantly, you should know that Escape From Tarkov’s performance heavily relies on the CPU.3070 is more than fine, so I’d assume your CPU is the issue. Also, having 70-80 FPS on maps like Reserve sounds fine to me. Hello, I’ve got the NZXT Streaming PC on the way and it has the 3700x with the 3070 and I’ve been watching people play this game and really want to get into it when I get the PC. I was curious with the computer I have coming will I have any issues? I’ve still got to get a monitor it is the last piece of the puzzle and I was going to go with a 1080p 144hz one I dont need the 1440p yet I’m sure the 1080p will still blow my mind (I’ve not played on PC in 15 years its been all console) any advice or confirmation that I will be fine with what I’m getting would be greatly appreciated. Thanks 1080p is more than fine, the game UI and Inventory property are still not scaled for 1440p anyhow. Nikita said they will do it but they don’t want to rush it as they wanna do it right. I play on 1440p but I did not notice any crazy differences compared to when I played on 1080p. You will die a lot, go offline mode and add scavs so you have a little target practice and get used to your keyboard… I wish there was a decent controller settings for this game Great thanks for the reply Thanks, game now looks grate. WHY IS THE GAME SO BLURRY With those settings, the game feels blurry but it’s less blurry than using TAA. Also, if you premed (which I suppose you are) and you wear a helmet with a visor on, then you’ll have perfect eyesight. i dont know man its crazy somtimes! An changes for Patch 0.12.9.10901? I use your settings it has helped a lot. i would recommend upping the brightness on night time matches and back down to 15 during the day Hey, thanks for your comment! Yeah, upping the brightness for night time could be beneficial. Hey for 12.10 my graphics are very grainy. Anyone else having a similar issue? Yeah this is outdated now. I hope the OP updates it soon. I will soon, working on it atm. WOW, i literally gained +24 fps whit these settings, not even kidding, you guys should make one for arma 3 as well haha 1. Did you mean to put Brightness: 59 for the TAA brightness setting? Just found it strange it is the same as the FoV. 2. What about TAA High? How does that compare? No, it’s not an error. It’s 59 for brightness too. Feel free to go in Reserve’s underbelly while power off and take a look if you can distinct wall edges from the ambient. Those are one of the examples you can try to tweak your brightness. But do not overdo it, as it will collide with the environment outside, especially if it’s foggy. About TAA or TAA High depends on your gaming rig if it can handle it. It’s not that big of a difference anyhow. It’s really tough to decide between FXAA and TAA High. For me personally, performance isn’t a deciding factor. I get 100+ frames regardless. My decision on which to use comes down to what will give me the competitive advantage to spot players. So far, I’m not sure which setting to choose. OFF / FXAA or TAA High. I’ve tried them all and honestly, can’t decide. I always have painkillers up and I’m not a faceshield/altyn player. What setting would you personally recommend? I mainly play customs and stay out of D2 when I’m on reserve. I feel like TAA is a common choice nowadays, and since you’re not wearing a visor and you always use painkillers, it will help you cope with pixelization better. For some reason, FXAA is falling behind nowadays as distant objects are becoming blurry for whatever reason, and with the latest dev update, they have confirmed that TAA is the better choice. That’s why I added TAA settings in the article which are most likely going to be tweaked even further as time goes by.

 

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0.5
Chromebook running slow? Google’s update may be to blame

Google has recently released a relatively minor update to Chrome OS, but it looks like it could be causing some Chromebooks to start performing worse. Chrome OS version 91.0.4472.147, which released at the end of June, was supposed to bring a series of bug fixes and security updates, but, as Gizmodo reports, several users have been reporting that their Chromebooks have been running more slowly since the update. It appears the culprit could be an increase in CPU usage, with users pointing out in the official bug report that their Chromebooks’ processors are ramping up to their maximum speeds and sitting there. This was then causing serious performance degradation as the CPUs were being throttled, as there’s no CPU power to spare for other tasks. This annoying issue doesn’t affect all Chromebooks, just certain makes and models from particular manufacturers, which are identified by the ‘Grunt’ and ‘Hatch’ codenames. According to About Chromebooks, the devices affected are: It’s important to point out that if you have one of these devices, it doesn’t mean it’s definitely affected by the bug. If you’re using it without issue, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you do own one of those Chromebooks, and you have noticed a drop in performance recently, the latest Chrome OS update could be to blame. If you have the 91.0.4472.147 Chrome OS update installed and are suffering from problems, then unfortunately there is not an easy way to uninstall the update and go back to an earlier version. You could try resetting your Chromebook – do so, follow our how to reset a Chromebook guide. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait until Google releases another update that hopefully fixes the issue. If you have one of the affected Chromebooks, but have not updated to 91.0.4472.147, simply ignore the notifications asking you to update until it’s safe to do so. If you can avoid restarting your Chromebook, that will also help as it will stop the update from automatically installing. We’ve contacted Google for comment, and hopefully this issue will be sorted out soon.

 

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0.9
Among Us Irish localisation "a cultural win for a thriving minority language"

No lie. Among Us' new Irish localisation has been described as "a cultural win for a thriving minority language" by one of the people who worked on it. The monster hit game received a new update yesterday, and with it brought Irish localisation. Among Us is perhaps the biggest game ever to receive an Irish localisation, although it is not the first. "It's a MASSIVE win for a minority language and one of many I hope!" Úna-Minh Kavanagh, who spearheaded the project, said in a post on Twitter. Kavanagh worked alongside fellow Gaeilgeoirí Brian C. Mac Giolla Mhuire, Cormac Cinnsealach and Mike Drinkwater on the localisation after calling for their mod to be officially added to the game late last year. Kavanagh told the Irish Mirror that video game consulting agency Robot Teddy, which works with Among Us developer Inner Sloth, then got in touch to help make the localisation happen. In Ireland it's compulsory to study Irish in secondary school, but the value of Gaeilge is the subject of a long-running debate, with some calling it a "dead language" due to the relatively small number of people who speak it. The figures from Ireland's 2016 Census show 73,803 people out of a total population of 4.75 million speak Irish daily - or 1.7 percent of the population. That was a decline of 3382 (4.4 per cent) on 2011. "One of my biggest hopes is that the Irish media sees how IMPORTANT this is for the Irish language and for minority languages in general," Kavanagh tweeted . "Among Us is HUGE. It's a massive win for teachers, speakers, young students, gamers and enthusiasts." Roguelike deck-building game Dicey Dungeons, from Irish indie developer Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV and Super Hexagon), also has an Irish localisation. In 2019, Eurogamer reported on the person who translated the original 151 Pokémon into Irish. Also in 2019, we spoke to Hideo Kojima about the song that plays at the end of the first Metal Gear Solid game, The Best Is Yet To Come, which was sung as Gaeilge by Irish singer Aoife Ni Fhearraigh.

 

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0.3
Epic launch trailer for Fallout 76: Steel Reign

"A monumental update to Fallout 76, marking its single greatest step in quality since it launched almost eighteen months ago." "The concept of a fully online Fallout title seemed so very sweet in theory but Bethesda has made more than a few stumbles along the way." The latest expansion launched yesterday for free. The game's two-part story arc has finally come to an end after seven months. Bethesda admits that it's now tough to get a full lobby together. Keep an eye out for the Mole Miners. Players can now completely rework their characters S. P. E. C. I. A. L abilities. Collect all six Deathclaw eggs to find a surprise in your crafting station.

 

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1.1
Among Us physical collectors editions announced

Three have been announced with the Ejected Edition being the most inclusive. A PlayStation Store database has the game listed as August 31. This week's mystery game has been revealed. Pre-orders are set to go live on May 11. PlayStation players will also get exclusive Ratchet & Clank cosmetics. New hats and tasks are also available as part of this free update.

 

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